SNL and Timothée Chalamet criticised for ‘distasteful’ Hamas sketch

Saturday Night Live and Timothée Chalamet are facing criticism from viewers for making a Hamas joke amid the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.

The Dune star, 27, hosted NBC’s long-running comedy sketch show for a second time on Saturday (11 November), with Phoebe Bridgers’ band Boygenius as musical guests.

During one of Chalamet’s skits, he plays a suicidal musician who’s prepared to jump off the side of a building just before comedy trio Please Don’t Destroy come to his rescue.

“Come on, man, there must be someone or something you care about,” comic John Higgins pleads.

“Yeah, I guess. It’s my music,” Chalamet responds. “I make music. I’m too much of a coward to show anyone.”

As he gets ready to step off the ledge, the three implore him to “show us your music”.

“We’d be lucky to hear it!” Higgins adds. Chalamet then proceeds to blast a beat of his from a speaker.

Higgins and his fellow groupmates Ben Marshall and Martin Herlihy look at each other unimpressed before turning back to Chalamet, telling him that it was “good” and “it sounds like it was made by a cool frog”.

After showing a second tune, Chalamet asks if they’d be willing to share it on Instagram.

“If it means you won’t kill yourself, yeah,” Higgins agrees. When asked by Herlihy what his band’s name is, Chalamet says: “It’s Hamas [pronounced Haymus]. H-A-M-A-S.”

“Hamas?” Herlihy replies in shock, pronouncing it the same as the militant Palestinian group. “Oh god, I didn’t even think of that,” Chalamet says.

“Yeah, dude, I’m not sharing a song by Hamas on Instagram,” Herlihy says.

The following morning, SNL reshared a clip of the sketch on X/Twitter, with several users lambasting the series in the comments.

“Do you genuinely think this is funny? It’s really distasteful and disappointing,” one fan wrote. “I thought you didn’t post because you realised that during the live.”

“I have been a staunch SNL defender for a while as most people have turned it off, but all I can say is yikes. Not simply unfunny, but out of touch and disrespectful,” a second shared.

A third agreed, adding that it was “very distasteful”. “We all know and understand that SNL is satire and is a comedy sketch show, but some things are too sensitive to make fun of,” they added.

Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are currently fighting “in the heart of Gaza City”, where they are hunting down Hamas’s underground tunnels. The ongoing war in the region was triggered by Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel on 7 October.

Saturday night’s episode marked the first SNL show since the SAG-AFTRA actors’ strike ended on 9 November.