Saturday Night Live star Michael Che addresses his controversial Gen Z Hospital skit which mischaracterized AAVE (African American Vernacular English) as Gen Z slang.
As Shadow And Act covered recently, the skit featured host Elon Musk as a doctor at the hospital and SNL cast members Kate McKinnon, Heidi Gardner, Mikey Day, Ego Nwodim and Bowen Yang as friends asking if their injured friend–their “bestie”–would be okay. The skit included several words from AAVE such as “catch hands,” “bruh,” “tea” and much more. Che wrote the skit for the series and he was also criticized for misusing and making fun of Black lexicon in a majority-white space.
In a response to the criticism, Che wrote on his Instagram Stories that he didn’t know what AAVE meant before making the skit.
“I’ve been reading about how my ‘gen z’ sketch was misappropriating AAVE and I was stunned cause what the f— is ‘AAVE’? I had to look it up,” he said, according to Nylon. “Turns out it’s an acronym for ‘African American vernacular english.’ You know, AAVE! That ol’ saying that actual black people use in conversation all the time… Look, the sketch bombed. I’m used to that. I meant no offense to the ‘aave’ community. I love aave. Aave to the moon!”
Twitter’s initial response to the skit was swift, with many condemning it for gentrifying Black American dialect and mischaracterizing it as something created recently by young social media users. But this isn’t the only time Che has been the subject of controversy recently. He also went on a now-deleted Instagram Stories tirade against Vulture critic Craig Jenkins, who reviewed Che’s new HBO Max show That Damn Michael Che. The two engaged in a back-and-forth started by Che calling out Jenkins for his mixed review, which included the sentiment that the series is “pretty fun when it’s not second-guessing and overthinking itself into a liberal fog.”