'SNL' highlights parents' response to college protests in cold open

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‘Saturday Night Live’ poked fun at parents’ conflicted responses to their students’ participation in college protests in the cold open this weekend.

The sketch centered on three parents in an NY1 radio broadcast interview, in which they expressed concern about their student’s participation.

“Well, for me, it’s been tough,” one parent said on the talk show in the sketch. “Now I’m all for free speech, but I don’t understand what they think they’re accomplishing. And that’s really putting a strain on me and my daughter’s relationship.”

“I want to let my son make his own choices. But to be honest, it’s a little scary. These protests are becoming way more aggressive,” the second parent said.

The third parent, played by Kenan Thompson, expressed support for the protest – until he learned his daughter, who, in the sketch, is a student at Columbia University, might be participating.

“Well, I think it’s just great, you know, it’s wonderful. Nothing makes me prouder than young people using their voices to fight for what they believe in,” Thompson’s character said.

The interview responded, saying, “Your daughter must feel so supported when she’s out there.”

“What’s that now? When whose daughter is out there?” he said, adding, “No, no, no, no, man. You bugging. Alexis Vanessa Roberts better have a butt in class.”

“Let me find out she’s in one of them damn tents, instead of the dorm room that I paid for,” he continued, referencing the encampments that student protestors erected on campus, with many sleeping in their tents instead of their dorm rooms, in protest of the war in Gaza.

The interview said he thought the father was supportive of the student protests.

“I am supportive of y’all’s kids protesting. Not my kids. My kids know better, shoot. Alexis Vanessa ain’t crazy.”

Thompson’s character then noted Columbia University’s steep price tag in response to protesters’ demands for “Free Palestine.”

“My business is Alexis Vanessa Roberts. Okay. She ain’t talking about no ‘free this,’ ‘free that’ because I’ll tell you what ain’t free: Columbia,” he said, to applause from the audience. “Shoot, do y’all know that they got the nerve to want $68,000 a year?”

Thompson’s character also took a shot at his daughter’s chosen major, African American studies.

“I’m out here busting my hump to pay all that tuition,” he said, adding, when asked what he does for a living, “I do it all. Uber all day. Uber Eats all night. Cut grass on the weekends. Sell Gucci wallets out of my trunk. Life coaching on IG. I bounty hunt whenever possible.

“All of that so she can say she got a degree in African American Studies. It’s like, look girl, you’ve been Black your whole life. You know what it is,” he said.

The sketch comes as college protests of the war in Gaza have escalated across college campuses in recent weeks. At some schools, including Columbia University in New York, the police have been called in to help control the protests after administrators struggled to control the demonstrators.

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