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Thursday 30 March 2017

It's a pity Saturday Night Live didn't follow in the graceful footsteps of AA Gill

Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor

One of the finest journalists of modern times, AA Gill, died last week, and in one of the many tributes to his glorious penmanship a newspaper reproduced an article he wrote about a visit to Ireland.

It began thus: "Every time I go to Ireland, I think two things. First, why on Earth don't I come to Ireland more often? Second, I'd come to Ireland more often if it stopped raining. And third (tree tings), isn't it exhausting for the Irish being so relentlessly friendly? They are unnervingly, irrationally, precipitously chummy."

It's a view that's commonly expressed of this country to such an extent that it has almost become a cliche, but the grace and economy of words with which AA Gill expressed it somehow makes it seem brand new.

Lampoon

It stands in stark relief to that other attempt to capture the essence of Irishness that was on view this week on the US comedy show Saturday Night Live.

It chose to lampoon Conor McGregor in a skit on his lavish spending. Now, it's ironic that a show that has drawn plaudits for its savage lampooning of Donald Trump's racism should itself be guilty of these very same things in its portrayal of McGregor.

With their lazy pandering to stereotypes, crass jokes about the IRA, referring to him as "an angry little leprechaun" and sporting the worst "Oirish" accent since Tom Cruise in Far and Away, Saturday Night Live reminded us of the one thing they claim to be above - the people who voted for president-elect Trump.

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