It can be hard to put into words exactly what it is that’s so exasperating about some of the male reactions to the avalanche of recent sexual misconduct allegations against the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, and Louis CK. Luckily, the writers of SNL did such a good job of voicing our frustrations that we almost feel we no longer feel we have to. The sketch “Welcome to Hell,” which aired on December 2 as part of an episode hosted by Saoirse Ronan, is truly the anti-sexual assault anthem we all so desperately need right now.
Starring Ronan, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, and Cecily Strong, it takes place in a Katy Perry-ified music video world filled with lollipops and cotton candy colors. “Hey there, boys, we know the last couple months have been frickin’ insane,” opens Strong in a perfect sexy-baby voice.
“All of these big, cool, powerful guys are turning out to be, what’s the word? Habitual predators,” Bryant adds. “And it’s like, dang, is this the world now?”
Breaking the big news that so many men have managed to ignore until just a few weeks ago, Strong replies: “This has been the damn world.”
The song then goes on to welcome men to “Hell,” a place women have been living for some time, in which anyone is a possible sexual predator and things including “parking, walking, Uber, ponytails, bathrobes, nighttime, drinking, hotels and vans” have been permanently ruined. “Yeah, it’s a lot, but it’s what we’ve got. Welcome to Hell,” the group sings.
Despite the fact that there a still new allegations about sexual misconduct being made regularly, some men are inevitably already talking about redemption, about what comes next for the accused, and, of course, about making sure the whole thing doesn’t turn into a so-called “witch hunt.”
“Why do we need to talk about the redemption of men when we are right in the middle of the salvation of women? Not even the middle, but the very beginning? Why are we obligated to care about salvaging male careers when we have just begun to tell the stories that have plagued us for lifetimes?” writes actress Amber Tamblyn in a recent New York Times op-ed on the subject.
“Welcome to Hell” is a perfectly articulated comeback to these self-interested male responses, serving as a reminder that just because we’re all suddenly being open about the disgusting ways in which men abuse their power, doesn’t mean it all just happened overnight. In fact, next time someone in your vicinity starts in about how sad it is that House of Cards is now ruined or how watching Louis CK’s comedy suddenly feels slimy, feel free to just save your breath and play them this song.