Comedian Jimmy Fallon apologized Tuesday for playing fellow comedian Chris Rock in a Saturday Night Live sketch twenty years ago, after a clip of the appearance appeared on social media overnight.
“In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this,” he wrote on Twitter.
In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this.
I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) May 26, 2020
“I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.”
Some fans appeared unimpressed by the controversy. One tweeted a GIF of comedian Eddie Murphy playing an elderly white Jew in Coming to America.
— Ryan Kane (@KaneSearch) May 26, 2020
Fallon appeared to take responsibility for the incident, though there were also writers, actors, producers, and executives involved — and the audience laughed.
The sketch, “Regis co-host auditions,” aired on March 11, 2000, and has been the subject of occasional controversy over the years. NBC’s version of the sketch omits the portion with Fallon in blackface.
Tracy Morgan, a male actor, performs in drag as lawyer and television personality Star Jones.
Fallon has been the target of left-wing criticism since President Donald Trump took office. Fallon apologized in 2018 for treating then-candidate Trump as a normal guest on The Tonight Show in 2016.
The Tonight Show‘s house band is The Roots, one of the most celebrated bands in the hip-hop genre. In 2011, drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson nearly cost the band its gig when they welcomed then-Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a popular Tea Party figure, onstage by playing the song “Lyin’ Ass Bitch.”
Conservative critics were outraged. The show apologized and the band remains on the show today.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.