If I was Lorne Michaels, the creator and producer of “Saturday Night Live,” I might write back to Lt. Gene Ryan, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, to say this: Do you really have time to be complaining about a late-night comedy sketch? Didn’t I read somewhere that Baltimore is one of the most violent cities in America? Didn’t your acting commissioner just pull 230 police officers off administrative duties for patrol work to combat another horrible spike in violence? Doesn’t the B in BPD stand for beleaguered?
When you write an open letter, sir, it might be best to address it to the citizens of Baltimore to assure them that the men and women of the BPD are doing everything possible to make the city safer and to ask them for help in solving crimes. You could also call out for new recruits to fill your ranks.
I understand why you are self-conscious about any kind of criticism these days.
But I must say, SNL did not really single out your department in the “Thirsty Cops” sketch. No one in the sketch utters the word, “Baltimore.” The actors might have been wearing Baltimore Police Department patches, and I can see how the men and women of your department might take that as a slap against them. But, really, the joke could have been on any department anywhere.
If anyone might take offense, I suppose it should be women in uniform. The sketch portrayed female officers making a traffic stop to get a look at Seth Meyers’ fine backside.
And you know what? In watching the sketch again, I’d say it was funny, but hardly Top 10 SNL funny, probably not even Top 200.
This grievance from the FOP recalls a scene from a 1982 movie, “My Favorite Year,” about a weekly sketch comedy show in the early days of television. The show stars King Kaiser, played by Joseph Bologna. In one of his recurring sketches, King Kaiser portrays a mobbed-up labor boss named Boss Hijack, based on a real-life labor leader named Karl Rojack. When Rojack stomps into Kaiser’s office to demand that he stop playing Boss Hijack on “this stupid show,” Kaiser responds: “Let me explain something to you, Karl. We’re gonna keep on doing the sketch. You know why? Because it’s funny. And in my business, you never cut funny.”
I don’t know what you’re expecting from Lorne Michaels, Lt. Ryan, but if “Thirsty Cops” generates some decent buzz — and if your widely reported letter of complaint helps give it legs — then SNL might keep on doing it because, in Michaels’ business, you never cut funny.