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SNL criticised for ‘offensive’ and ‘mean-spirited’ Irish stereotypes about Colin Farrell in 2023 Oscars sketch

Saturday Night Live has come under fire for using “offensive” stereotypes about Irish people in a sketch featuring impersonations of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.

Saturday’s (11 March) episode was hosted by Wednesday star Jenna Ortega and began with a cold open sketch set on the Oscars red carpet.

In the sketch, presenters Mario Lopez and “Maria Menounos or Kit Hoover” (Marcello Hernandez and Heidi Gardner) are interviewing celebrities ahead of the awards show, which takes place on Sunday (12 March).

“I’m told that we have the stars of The Banshees of Inisherin, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson,” Gardner says, with Mikey Day and Molly Kearny then appearing as the pair of Irish actors.

“How do you guys like your chances tonight?” Gardner asks them, with the comedians replying in extremely thick, hard-to-understand accents.

“Wow, and they haven’t even started drinking yet!” Hernandez responds as Lopez.

The clip was circulated on Twitter on Sunday with viewers hitting out at the “wildly offensive” portrayal of Irish people in the sketch.

“Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson will be amongst the most charming and articulate nominees there tonight, but SNL still thinks it’s funny to reduce them to stupid, boring Irish stereotypes? Get in the bin,” one tweet read.

“I really don’t know who SNL thinks it’s appealing to whenever it does these god awful ‘the Irish are drunks and no one understands their accent’ bits. But you could say that about most SNL content tbh,” another viewer tweeted.

“It truly wouldn’t be St Patrick’s week without SNL making some offensive joke based on Irish stereotypes that wasn’t funny in 1970, yet alone 2023,” one Twitter user wrote.

“Usually love SNL but the 1980s called and they want their Irish stereotype jokes back,” another commenter said.

Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee shared the clip with the words: “Yes this fine” followed by a face-palm emoji.

The alcohol comment was particularly criticised due to Farrell’s history with sobriety. The actor has been sober since 2006 but checked himself into rehab in 2018 as a “preemptive measure”.

“Not the Irish alcoholic trope in reference to an actor who is very open about his journey with sobriety. Absolutely not the one SNL,” one tweet read.

Another commenter wrote: “One more thing on this #SNL crap. There is also the enormously tricky notion of ending on ‘we haven’t started drinking yet’ when Colin Farrell famously went into rehab 20 years ago. But sure never mind. They’re Irish. Drunk jokes are always okay, apparently.”

SNL is notorious for making fun of the Irish accent, but saying that Colin Farrell ‘hasn’t even started drinking yet’ when he’s been sober for 20 years and went to rehab of his accord to make sure he didn’t drink only a few years ago is mean-spirited for an old stereotype,” another viewer added.

The Independent has contacted NBC for comment.

The Banshees of Inisherin is up for eight awards at Sunday night’s Academy Awards, with Farrell, Gleeson, Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon all nominated in acting categories.

The comedy-drama is also in the running for Best Picture. You can read all the nominees here and follow The Independent’s live blog here.