After hours of political commentary, I think everyone was looking forward to Cecily Strong's opening monologue at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, but a few minutes in, things got sort of awkward. During her speech, the Saturday Night Live star started going through the list of media organizations present at the dinner and taking some shots at them. Many of the biting remarks were very funny, but one went too far. When she got to NPR in her WHCD opening, Strong talked about Serial, Sarah Koenig's hit podcast that explored the trial and conviction of Adnan Syed for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee.
Strong started her joke with commentary on the format of Serial. She said that Serial finally let people know what it would sound like if someone slowly whispered an episode of Dateline into their ear. As a fan of the podcast, I chuckled a little at the tame joke, though it had nothing on SNL's parody, in which Strong actually played Koenig. From there, Strong could have moved on, but instead, she continued, making a much riskier Serial joke. Unfortunately, I think that was the wrong choice.
Referencing Syed, who is still in prison but in the process of filing an appeal, Strong directed her attention to Koenig and said, "Sarah, I'm so sorry you weren't able to get your plus-one out of jail in time." Oof. Watch the video below, and you'll notice that the audience didn't seem too keen on the joke either.
The problem with that joke is, instead of poking fun at the actual podcast, it mocked the incarceration of someone whose guilt has been questioned, and almost implied a relationship between Koenig and Syed. The jab just seemed to go too far, and considering that Strong has been involved in a parody of Serial that managed to be both hilarious and respectful, I expected better from her. If you want a joke about Serial that will actually make you laugh and not make you feel icky, watch the SNL parody below.