On Saturday’s episode, in the first post-monologue spot, Saturday Night Live aired a commercial parody that’s led to some instant controversy in social media, with some calling the ad racially insensitive.
The bit is a parody of Starbucks’ branded Verismo home coffee machine, and in the sketch’s reality, it allows customers to call out their coffee order, Siri-style, and have the machine make it to order. The SNL version, though, depicts the machines as not working particularly well- and also having the voices of inarticulate, easily-confused, and stereotypically African-American Starbucks employees:
I hadn’t ever heard of Verismo before this sketch, but apparently it’s a real thing. Meanwhile, the sketch is making two points: That the Verismo doesn’t work very well, and that Starbucks locations are staffed by not-very-bright black people. So not only is it offensive, it’s inaccurate- I’ve been going to Starbucks for many years, in many cities, and that’s never been my experience.
This is strange, because I would expect SNL to know better- especially since it’s no Family Guy or Howard Stern Show– in its nearly 40-year history, the show has mostly managed to avoid racial minefields.