Natalie Portman Saturday Night Live Rap Video

Natalie Portman hosted “Saturday Night Live” and was featured in an allegedly* humorous rap video. YouTube had it, as demonstrated by the video link below [via Miu von Furstenberg]:

Brian Montopoli explains what happened next:

Over the weekend numerous people uploaded video of a Saturday Night Live skit involving Natalie Portman rapping. At least 100,000 people have watched the video on YouTube. This time it looks like YouTube (and, in all likelihood, NBC) was quick on the draw: By 1:15, YouTube had taken the video off its site. In its stead disappointed searchers found a message reading “This video has been removed due to copyright infringement.”

For now, then, NBC has been satisfied. But one has to wonder how long this kind of thing can go on. Will networks like CBS and NBC continue to be willing to keep the status quo, in which their content is available for free until the lawyers demand it be removed? Or will they try to force companies to vet videos before they are posted, essentially crippling sites like YouTube that give users control of what goes up — and host plenty of unobjectionable, homemade content?

One understands SNL’s desire to keep control of its copyrighted material. The problem, though, is that they themselves are providing it at a suboptimal level. Most of us don’t watch SNL anymore because it really sucks. The few decent skits a year are just not worth it anymore. So, when they actually do something funny on the show, approximately twelve people not related to a member of the cast know about it. Because SNL embargoes its content until the show re-runs at a later date, that means people who would like to see those rare gems miss out.

YouTube and similar services help get the word out. If there are enough funny videos coming out, people will soon come to the conclusion that SNL has stopped sucking and actually start to watch again. Blocking people from the ability to enjoy their programming is, therefore, quite shortsighted.

*TVSquad posts a quick summary of the rap, however, which makes me append the “allegedly” above:

Chris Parnell is interviewing Natalie Portman and her response is an extremely vulgar rap video. But it was hilarious. She was so angry: “I’ll kill your dog.” “I’ll sh*t on your face.”

This is truly the Golden Age of Comedy.

Update: Mac Stansbury comes to the rescue with a video you can download and keep safe from NBC’s evil clutches.

Update 2: Actually, via Kevin Aylward, I see that NBC has obviated my original rant:

Now, instead of searching the web for “borrowed” NBC highlights, you can go to the source! We’ve taken your viral favorites and gathered them into one convenient location. Watch. React. Tell a friend.

As one of the original SNL characters used to say, “Never mind.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Derek W. says:

    Indeed. I think that “golden age of humor comment” (which I’m assuming was sarcasm) is made even more ironic by the fact that Don Knotts just died so recently. The Andy Griffith Show–now there was a television program that was actually funny. And the humor was all clean, too.

  2. Kent says:

    This is truly the Golden Age of Comedy.

    Is that a tongue in your cheek, or did you just have a wisdom tooth extracted?

  3. James Joyner says:

    Kent: Definitely the former. Wisdom teeth were extracted circa 1982.