Can SNL keep up with Internet memes? Alicia Keys booty call edition

As more people become more Internet savvy, I've often wondered how TV shows that rely on topical humor deal with the fact that so many would-be jokesters are making the same jokes about big topics so fast. Case in point: When Kanye West stormed the stage at the MTV awards a few months ago, before the night was over, someone had uploaded a YouTube video mashing up Kanye's performance with the Congressman who had interrupted President Obama. Game, set, match. The late-night TV shows all have topical monologues and already mine the same news headlines night after night — and in Saturday Night Live's case, they're at the end of the line (except when news breaks late Friday and Saturday).

That's not what happened this past Saturday, however, when the "SNL Digital Short" employed musical guest Alicia Keys to have her make a booty call to (Andy Samberg).

This, of course, is a play off of the actual music video Keys made for her song, "You Don't Know My Name." You can hear strains of the song playing in the background. But. Wait. This music video has been around since 2007. Watch the full video on YouTube (embedding disabled) and skip halfway through for the original phone call Keys makes to Mos Def. With more than two years to play with it, you'd have to figure that someone would have done it already.

Here's a video that has been lurking around on Funny or Die for almost that long, featuring comedian Michael James Nelson.

But, hey, he's not the only one. Just clickety-click a few words in the YouTube search box, such as, oh, I don't know, Alicia Keys phone call, and presto, watch-o. Here are a few that popped up. They're not quite as, um, professional or even funny compared to last weekend's SNL short. And yet, the playing field is starting to get uneven in the wrong direction when anyone with an Internet connection can screw up your joke before you have a chance to deliver it. Or maybe it forces professional comedians to become even more creative and personal and leave the topical material to the masses. Probably a little of this, a little of that, and a dash of the other thing. In the meantime, sample these amateur takes on the Alicia Keys booty call Internet meme, from the YouTube.

Try not to get too excited. These kids be crazy! Or should I say, bananas?!?

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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2 thoughts on “Can SNL keep up with Internet memes? Alicia Keys booty call edition

  1. This seems like it could be a pretty massive topic, considering the amount of “amateur” stuff being uploaded every day, shifting media landscape, yada yada. But I for one am not a fan of sifting through hours of garbage on YouTube for two minutes of chuckles, when I can go straight to proven sources or have guys like you tell me what’s good.
    Says the guy with a YouTube show.

  2. It could be great that a lot of amateur stuff are going around youtube (amateur being without a professional budget or training). For one thing, it would push the creative writers to step up their game and provide a much more quality adaptation. I know being first is said to be a deal breaker, but being edgy is also a great winner-maker. There are instances that memes that go viral aren’t the original ones. Anyway, Colin, you have a great argument there. My hat is off to you!

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