Michael Che responds to claims of cultural appropriation in ‘SNL’ sketch

Che took to Instagram to address the controversy surrounding the "Gen Z Hospital" sketch on "Saturday Night Live."

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After a controversial Saturday Night Live sketch this weekend that he wrote, Michael Che is responding to complaints of cultural appropriation.

Saturday Night Live‘s most recent episode already had raised eyebrows weeks before it aired. When it was announced it would be hosted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, many took to social media to express their disappointment and confusion, including SNL cast members themselves. In now-deleted posts, regular players Bowen Yang and Aidy Bryant seemingly shaded him.

Michael Che is having his say after a recent “Saturday Night Live” skit he wrote was blasted for what some apparently felt was cultural appropriation. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz)

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In a soap opera-inspired sketch entitled “Gen Z Hospital,” SNL cast members and Musk portrayed a typical hospital drama scene, only using “Gen Z” slang terms to communicate, including “bestie,” “go off, king,” “it hit different,” “it’s the…. for me” and “high key.” While the sketch seemed to get some laughs with the in-person audience, Twitter immediately called out its questionable take, with many picking up that its entire premise was based on non-Black people using AAVE, or African American Vernacular English.

One user tweeted: “Gen Z Hospital is the greatest example of why WHITE millennials/old people are not only out of touch, but how they steal black sh– and use it wrong.” Another agreed, writing, “‘gen z hospital’ THEYRE JUST USING AAVE ?????????????”

Some users defended the sketch, however, claiming that the entire point was to call out Gen Z and social media users who constantly appropriate and misuse AAVE.

One wrote, “Y’ALL: OMG. Gen Z Hospital was making fun of AAVE. No. Gen Z Hospital was making fun of the young social media crowd that appropriates & misuses AAVE on TikTok & Twitter all day.”

While many speculated about who wrote it, Che eventually released a statement on Monday.

In a now-deleted Instagram post, he acknowledged the backlash, writing: “I’ve been reading about how my ‘gen z’ sketch was misappropriating AAVE and I was stunned cause what the f**k is ‘AAVE’? I had to look it up. 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,” Che continued. “I’m used to that. I meant no offense to the ‘aave’ community. I love aave. Aave to the moon!”

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