10 times NBC affiliate WRAL censored Dave Chappelle-hosted SNL last night

Nathania Johnson
Nov 13, 2016 · 4 min read

Shortly after last night’s Saturday Night Live ended, an NBC affiliate in Raleigh, North Carolina tweeted that they had censored the live broadcast 9 times with a 10-second delay. The censorship was based on the use of 2 out of 10 words the station deems offensive in their obscenity, decency and profanity policy.

I live in Raleigh, and despite watching live (and yes, noticing the weird audio cuts), I still had the episode saved on my DVR. I compared the censored broadcast with the clips NBC published on YouTube and Hulu.

I counted 10 instances of censorship, not 9. The two offending words appear to be “goddamn” and “nigger.” In one case, the censor seems to have mistook the word “Negan,” a character in the Walking Dead which was parodied in a sketch, for the word “nigger,” resulting in unnecessary censorship.

Curiously, the first instance of the word “goddamn” was not censored by the station. Plus, at least one instance of censorship appears to be for no reason at all, and it came just after the word “pussy” was allowed to air during the opening monologue. A later sketch used the word “pussy” twice without censorship, so that word is apparently not on WRAL’s list.

The result was entire punchlines being censored. Even the phrase “I love you” got cut as a result of the station’s lengthy delay. There are shorter delay options available to broadcasters. It’s unclear why the station uses such a long one.

Below are the 10 instances of censorship:

  1. On the shooting of Harambe (0pening monologue):

“You can’t even go to the goddamn zoo without seeing a shooting nowadays. They shot a gorilla at my local zoo. And the Cincinnati police said, ‘Shooting this gorilla was the toughest decision this department ever had to make.’”

WRAL censored:

“I said, ‘Well you’re about to see a lot of niggers in gorilla costumes in Cincinnati.”

2. On staying at a Trump hotel (opening monologue):

“I don’t know if he’s going to make a good President but he makes a swell hotel suite, I’ma tell you that.”

“Housekeeping comes in in the morning and cleans my room, and I just, ‘Hey, good morning, housekeeping,’ grab a big handful of pussy…”

WRAL censored:

“…and say you know, ‘Boss said it was okay.’”

3. On being wealthy and black during the Obama Presidency (opening monologue):

“It’s the first time I got some money didn’t work out like that. Most unlikely thing happened ever…”

WRAL censored:

“…is a black President came out of nowhere like ‘Come on everyone, let’s start thinking about everyone else.’”

“No, nigger, I just got this money!”

4. On the first black people formally invited to the White House (opening monologue):

“To my knowledge, the first person officially invited to the White House was Frederick Douglass. They stopped him at the gates. Abraham Lincoln had to walk out himself and escort Frederick Douglass into the White House.

“And it didn’t happen again, as far as I know, until Roosevelt was President. When Roosevelt was President, he…”

WRAL censored:

“…had a black guy over and got so much flack from the media that he literally said, ‘I will never have a nigger in this house again.’”

5. The Walking Dead sketch, part 1:

Tyrone Biggums: “With all due respect, Mr. Negan, in my line of work…”

WRAL censored:

Tyrone Biggums: “…when you’re on your knees, they don’t give you bubble gum. They give you penis.”

Negan: “Shut up!”

Silky Johnson: “A nigger named Negan.”

6. The Walking Dead sketch, part 2:

Silky Johnson “I think you look more like a Stephanie. Your face looks like Fonzie made the Negro League.”

Beautiful: “Stop it Silky…”

WRAL censored:

Beautiful: “…you’re killing him.”

Silky Johnson: “Them’s some ugly ass boots you got on there. As the white boys say on the internet, ‘What…

Sound cuts back in.

Silky Johnson: “…are those?’”

7. The Walking Dead sketch, part 3:

Negan: “Look at this pasty bastard.”

WRAL censored:

Chuck Taylor: “Oh God no.”

Silky Johnson: “Good god, show some goddamn respect for yourself.”

8. The Walking Dead sketch, part 4:

Negan uses his weapon to behead Tyrone Biggums.

WRAL censored:

Tyrone Biggums’ head: “Hey Negan, which one of us ya’ll gonna hit?”

9. Jheri’s Place sketch (aka the “Inside SNL” bit):

Benjamin: “I, I, I…

WRAL censored:

Benjamin: “…think it was Donte.”

Donte: “Excuse you. The only thing I’m doing is standing here looking so goddamn beautiful.”

10. End of the Love and Leslie sketch:

Leslie Jones: “I guess it’s safe to say…”

WRAL censored:

Leslie Jones: “…that I love you.”

Dave Chappelle: “Excuse me.”

Leslie Jones: “Oh.”

Dave Chappelle: “Goddamn, did ya’ll fuck* in my dressing room?”

*Fuck was bleeped by NBC

Nathania Johnson

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writing and other creative endeavors @nlj nathaniajohnson.com