Everything SNL’s Bonjour Hi! got wrong

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Saturday Night Live’s recent sketch Bonjour Hi! has the Québécois furious. The sketch portrays cast members Bowen Yang and Kate McKinnon as French-Canadian news anchors and well, to say the least, it’s terrible.

These exhausted Canadian stereotypes are so rarely funny, I was honestly surprised to see any television show taking a crack at them. I can’t think of a bigger cry for help than beating the crap out of the horse who hasn’t taken your calls since March and has already blocked your number. Lorne, are you okay? 

So, here are just a few of the many tiring, erroneous facts SNL butchered on Bonjour Hi!.

We don’t all have ridiculous names

Believe me, I wish I knew a Jean-Lucas. Canada is flush with Brads, Chads and Justins and could use a little mediation from a responsible French boy. Don’t worry America, we have just as many incompetent pinheads as you.

SNL seems to make the crude assumption that all Canadians have illogically conceived given names. American co-anchor “Fred” is quickly renamed “Jean-Fred ” for no other reason than a lack of knowledge on the country—along with a gallon of ignorance.

And although I will admit Jean-Jacques is pretty badass, I’ll stick with Jackson—the name my very anglophone parents gave me. 

We don’t all speak French

Not only don’t we speak it, plenty of us can’t. I haven’t uttered a single coherent phrase in French since early high-school. I intentionally wore a dress to our final cumulative presentation in an oddly effective attempt to distract the class from my accidental introduction as “JeMaple Jack.”

It’s a crude stereotype that just because the Québécois speak it, that must mean we all do. Imagine Canadians blindly presumed that all Americans spoke Spanish. Our assumption would have us shot dead.

We don’t smoke inside, we don’t double kiss each other to the point of vertigo and we especially don’t eat those extremely erotic-looking bagels. Just as any other country, Canada is a diverse and cultured nation.

And what the hell does tabernacle mean? 

We don’t all care about Drake

In fact, I avidly dislike him. I am utterly disappointed with his music and I don’t think I loathe a basketball team more than the Toronto Raptors. SNL portrays the narrative that your standard, mindless Canadian is constantly on the active hunt to find Toronto rapper Drake. 

The news anchors quickly become aggressive and violent when questioned of Drake’s popularity by their American coworker, rattling off on an embarrassing tantrum full of “tabernacles”—which I now understand is an expletive. 

Canadians were rightfully frustrated after last week’s Saturday Night Live episode aired, portraying their nation like a goofy remake of Amélie. But more than Canadians, it was the Québécois who seemed the most up in arms.

Not only does Yang pronounce “Montreal” comically incorrect for someone imitating a French-Canadian accent, but they got the bagels wrong. “Montreal big real bagels,” they’re called by Yang and McKinnon as American Reporter Fred, played by Mikey Day, is quickly prompted to perform ungodly acts onto this poor, unrecognizable pastry.

It turns out the bagel in question was not a Montreal bagel as it was explained to be but instead a Jerusalem bagel—although they do look practically identical. 

But as a whole, there really is nothing offensive about this sketch. Saturday Night Live is built for laughs—believe it or not—and has been for 46 seasons. Even the historically-reasonable French-Canadian’s can understand that it’s just a joke—your livelihood is not at stake.

The sketch just isn’t very funny, that’s all. What’s funny about watching three news anchors beat exhausted Canadian stereotypes to death while straight man Mikey Day assaults baked goods? 

When you are able to weave a clever, innovative joke about any given topic, your audience is much more willing to laugh it off as a joke rather than take offense at your ignorance.

This is where SNL fails. Their humour is cheap and easy, catering to the lowest common denominator. I’m honestly surprised Lorne Michaels hasn’t shut the whole thing down. 

So, let me know when Weekend Update is on and don’t you dare wake me for the musical act. I’m not messing with my circadian rhythms for this.


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