Read a List of FCC Complaints Made About Saturday Night Live

When someone drops an F-bomb on Saturday Night Live, it’s generally pretty newsworthy. But for some viewers, “the ‘GD’ term” is equally offensive. 

That’s the lesson Brooke Germain, an editor at The Nevada Sagebrush, learned when she filed a Freedom of Information Act request to receive all complaints that the FCC had received about SNL going back to the start of 2023. She has since posted the full file to the public records platform MuckRock—and, well, there’s a common theme.

In January of 2023, Colin Jost joked on “Weekend Update” that while Joe Biden and Donald Trump were embroiled in very different classified document scandals, both “made Hillary Clinton want to blow her Goddamn brains out.”

A viewer from Cumming, Georgia, emailed the FCC: 

“Please note watching Saturday Night Live 01/21-22/23 over the air on WXIA 11 Atlanta, GA the ‘GD’ term was used, and I am not ok with this to begin with. Furthermore, the ‘GD’ term is not operating in the public interest as far as I am concerned. Hope this helps.”

Another viewer, this time from Des Moines, Iowa, had a similar complaint when the episode was rebroadcast months later:

“On the News Update portion, they said something about Hillary Clinton wanting to blow her — damn brains out. This is a show that was funny decades ago. I find it decadent and abhorrent and do not watch it. I was looking for something to watch and heard this! This is very, very wrong!!!”

On April 8, 2023, an Easter-themed sketch prompted outrage in North Carolina when James Austin Johnson’s version of Donald Trump crashed a version of The Last Supper.

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“This was absolutely reprehensible,” wrote one highly offended person. “Nothing funny about it. SNL had Donald Trump at the Last Supper and on Holy Week, the night before Easter Sunday, no less. The whole thing was in very bad taste.”

In January of this year, SNL was at it again when it was Mikey Day’s turn to say “the ‘GD’ term” in a sketch featuring host Jacob Elordi

Someone from New York City was to the point, as New Yorkers so often are.

“Use of God’s name in profanity laced blasphemy”

A week later, when the same episode was repeated in NBC’s “vintage SNL” timeslot, a viewer from Iowa wrote:

“At about 9:55 p m. on NBC affiliate WHO-TV Channel 13 (over-the-air) on Saturday Night Live, GOD’s Name was used as a bad word. I never used to hear it at all on TV. It was in the bowling skit a short time after the young man who hosted the show rolled the last ball and got a spare. I have written 3 times about Only Murders in the Building for the same thing.”

Not all of the complaints were God-fearing ones (though mostly they were). The show was also accused of re-enforcing Irish sterotypes on several occasions, while multiple viewers wrote in to compain about its College Presidents cold open last December.

One short from the Please Don’t Destroy guys—Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy—gave a look at what goes down during SNL’s infamous afterparties, but not all viewers found the illicit (albeit fictitious) shenanigans depicted in the short funny. 

A Pennsylvanian who watched the sketch on YouTube during daylight hours was particularly offended: 

“A recent SNL sketch shows a young man doing cocaine with a spoon in a bathroom stall. This is a long running tv show viewers of all ages love to watch. 

This is highly inappropriate. It exposes minors as well as other viewers to illicit drug use. It shows how to use the drug, what form it comes in, and where it is usually consumed. 

This cannot be good for people. SNL and comedy should be funny but this is crass. What next? Shooting heroin, smoking crack on SNL? I saw this on YouTube during [the] daytime. Late night tv is one thing but it’s more available to everyone once it’s uploaded on the internet.”

You can view the full list of complaints on MuckRock.

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