Struggling with how to enjoy your favorite media since its stars have been outed as serial harassers or abusers? Well you're in luck. Writer and comedian Amber Ruffin at Late Night tackled the art vs. artist debate with a brilliant bit in which she remade several high-profile classics, all originally starring men who have since been accused of being sexual predators. Ruffin is a longtime writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers, where she frequently participates in on-air segments like "Jokes Seth Can't Tell." And in this segment, she called out a range of powerful men across music, television, movies, and stand-up, replacing their problematic content with her own.
"Are you tired of trying to separate the art from the artist?," she asks the camera, mimicking the advertisements for some new miracle product that you don't need being sold on QVC in the wee hours of the morning. The only difference between those infomercials and this Late Night segment is that this actually is something you need. Ruffin continues, "I took all of the classic art made by sketchy dudes, and I remade it, so you can enjoy it guilt-free." In the video, the 39-year-old put herself in the center of a Woody Allen comedy, bespectacled and sputtering at a young woman, danced like a be-sweatered Bill Cosby, and changed the lyrics of a Chris Brown song from "Run It" to "Fun It," just to make each piece of art easier to enjoy.
"And that's all the perverts there ever were!" she says, about halfway through the clip, before clarifying: "Just kidding! There's also a billion stand-ups." And away she goes again. "Hey, I'm any number of guys!" she says at the mic, by way of introduction, before launching into a joke: "Hey, have you guys ever noticed that sometimes your date is into it, and sometimes she's not, and the difference is really important?" So topical! So relatable! So real!
Ruffin even simplifies life for House of Cards fans, editing herself herself in the Kevin Spacey role. Netflix, of course, cut ties with Spacey after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against the actor in late 2017, starting with allegations form actor Anthony Rapp. (Spacey claimed no memory of the accusations Rapp made against him, but did deny claims of attempted rape through a spokesperson.) Spacey will be written out of the show in Season 6, with Robin Wright taking up the lead. Audiences won't have to worry about balancing their love of House of Cards with their disappointment in Ken Spacey during the upcoming season. But what are they supposed to about any conflicting feelings that might arise while watching Seasons 1 through 5?
Well, according to Ruffin — they just need to tune into her version instead. In the clip, she also inserts herself into a scene about bribing a congressman, only to drawl into the lens, "I can't believe you all watched this show in the first place," mimicking Frank Underwood's trademark style. But no matter your preferences, Ruffin has something for everyone with her promise:
"Live the problematic-free life you've longed for. With my guilt-free takes on the classics, there's no need to separate the art from the artist: you can throw them both in the garbage."
And once you've thrown them there, Ruffin is on hand to hilariously provide a replacement. Heck, she'll even give you a Picasso rip-off that she painted for free, just so you can have something on your walls that was created by someone with an appreciation for women that goes beyond the sexual. So kiss your art vs. artists woes goodbye, because Ruffin has got you covered.