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SNL Has Fun at Its Own Expense

With millions of viewers tuning in – and undoubtedly millions more viewing via online videos in the coming days – Saturday Night Live did what some brands would shudder to even think about – it made fun of itself.

The show has historically lacked diversity within its cast and used the opportunity of having Academy Award-nominated actress Kerry Washington as guest host to address negative feedback the show has received. In the opening skit, Washington was forced to play multiple black women – including Michelle Obama, Oprah and Beyonce – in a short amount of time, causing a revolving door of black female characters all played by a single person. This act caused some laughs from the audience but the real impact came when Saturday Night Live staged a voice-over from producers apologizing to Washington for having her play every black female character they wrote simply because they had no black women on the permanent cast roster.

With comedy at its roots, there’s no doubt Saturday Night Live created this skit to have some good-natured fun at its own expense, but I can’t help but wonder if the creators pulled this stunt for the greater good of hopefully eliciting interest from talented female comedians with diverse racial backgrounds. Sometimes making fun of yourself can accomplish a more serious goal. It’d be nice to see other brands experiment with self-deprecating humor to garner attention, acknowledge shortcomings and drive business results.

Is there an example of a brand acknowledging its own flaw in a humorous or serious manner that you thought was effective? Share it in the comments below, tweet us at @nstpr or share on our Facebook page.

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