"Saturday Night Live" has a message for Virginia government officials: Wearing blackface never is and never was OK.
In this week's episode hosted by Halsey, the comedy show addressed the recent controversy involving Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, who both admitted to wearing blackface in the 1980s. Meanwhile, the state's lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, faced his own scandal as two women accused him of sexual assault.
In a sketch Saturday night, Kenan Thompson, playing a state ethics official, didn't hold back.
"As chair of the ethics committee, I have to ask: Has anybody else worn blackface in college? Anybody?" he asked his castmates, who were playing Virginia state representatives. "This is completely off the record, so tell me now so we can get ahead of this."
A character named Glen (Pete Davidson) was the first to come clean, saying he wore blackface while dressing up as Mr. T.
But many of the characters didn't seem to understand what the problem was.
"I have a question: What if the blackface was just part of your costume of a black person?" one man, played by Beck Bennett, asked Thompson.
"You see, Tom, that's the exact kind of thing that we're looking for here today," Thompson said.
A woman (Cecily Strong) then asked: "Does it count if you did it all the way back in the '80s?"
"No, of course not," another man (Mikey Day) interjected. "It was funny and cool in the '80s!"
"Nope, nope, I'm gonna stop you right there, Phil," Thompson said. "It does still count, and it was never funny or cool."
>> Watch the full sketch here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised.)