‘SNL’ “Welcome to Hell” Digital Short Takes on Sexual Harassment

Get Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, and Aidy Bryant together for a girl-group digital short on SNL, and chances are it’s going to be gold. They’ve had more than a few hits over the years, too: Remember the classic “(Do It on My) Twin Bed?”, their take on the struggle of hooking up with your S.O. when you’re home for the holidays? Or the awkward-but-hilarious First Got Horny 2 U? Brilliant. And we were treated to them once more on Saturday night, when they tackled the subject of sexual harassment with a music video called “Welcome to Hell.”

The video uses a generically juvenile male fantasy of what being a woman is like, complete with all of its infantile clichés—lollipops, faux fur, and ring-pops—as an in to discuss sexual harassment (because, the video implies, how else will men listen?). The subject—the reality of a woman’s reality—however, provides a stark contrast to this fantasy. McKinnon, Bryant, Strong, and Lady Bird actress and SNL host Saroise Ronan—all in their girl-group persona—give a crash course in living in the world as women who constantly have to navigate the anxiety, fear, and experience of sexual harassment.

The first thing on their agenda? Reminding the world that recent news is just a snippet of the daily harassment women deal with on the reg. “It’s like, dang, is this the world now?” Bryant, in a pink voluminous wig, asks in a prelude to the song. Strong replies: “Oh, this has been the damn world.” Which, truth.

Their hometown, they sing, is Hell (as in, capital-H Hell is literally their hometown). And now they’re giving everyone else a warm welcome to their “freaky, nasty, it’s button-under-the-desk bad” life—a not-so-subtle reference to NBC’s own Matt Lauer, who was fired from the Today show for inappropriate sexual behavior on Tuesday and allegedly had a button installed under his desk to lock his office door from the inside.

The video is (hopefully) instructional for bros who aren’t convinced that sexual harassment is as pervasive as the headlines make it seem: The women bring in some historical examples to show that it’s always been an issue, including but not limited to instances of being burned at the stake. They also sing about having to constantly live on edge and how they carry pink guns, attesting that their life is like living in a “maze of boners.” Bryant also clarifies that, whoops, this isn’t a “girl group” after all: “This ain’t a girl group; we travel this way for safety.”

Fellow cast member Leslie Jones also joined in with a critical reminder: “Hey, I just wanted to say I think what you guys are doing is really cool,” she said. “I get it. But you do know it’s like a million times worse for a woman of color, right?”

The girl gang then lists off all of the things that have been ruined for them thanks to sexual predators: “Now House of Cards is ruined, and that really sucks. But here’s a list of stuff that’s ruined for us: parking and walking and Uber and ponytails, bathrobes and night time, and drinking and hotels and vans. Nothing good happens in a van.”

Problematically, however, Jones, while present for the remainder of the skit, doesn’t get to join in with her own verse and voice for the rest of the skit—minus a line in the listing-off of ruined things. It’s a sadly ironic oversight given the one line she does have, as Nylon points out.

The three-minute short concludes with a chorus that is, in a word, anthemic: “This isn’t news,” they sing. “This has been the situation since we got boobs.”

Watch the music video below:

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