Steve Martin King Tut SNL skit controversy explained as 1978 clip resurfaces online 

Steve Martin gets canceled by Gen Z for an SNL sketch (Image via Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Steve Martin gets canceled by Gen Z for an SNL sketch (Image via Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Steve Martin is receiving immense backlash from Generation Z Twitter users for his appearance on Saturday Night Live on April 22, 1978. The comedic legend did a parody sketch on 'Treasures of Tutankhamun,' a traveling exhibit making a six-city, 2.5-year-long tour across the States.

The exhibit was a nationwide phenomenon. People waited in long lines to see up to 55 masterpieces, which reflected King Tut’s “necessities.” Museums make immense amounts of money by selling toys, T-shirts, and other souvenirs. Steve Martin decided to mock the commercialism of the exhibit and said in his SNL sketch:

“One of the great art exhibits ever to tour the United States was the 'Treasures of Tutankhamun,' or 'King Tut.' But I think it's a national disgrace the way we have commercialized it with trinkets and toys, t-shirts and posters.”

The comedian went on to perform a goofy Egyptian-themed dance.


Why is Generation Z canceling Steve Martin?

The old clip of the comedian-actor’s performance went viral when a netizen tweeted about the same. It was reportedly the 44th anniversary of the SNL sketch. Many youngsters deemed it cultural appropriation and did not find humor in the performance, which has now been labeled “obnoxious.” Though one cannot find tweets regarding Gen Z's outrage due to Twitter’s algorithm, one can see the backlash to the attempted cancelation of Steve Martin.

My hope is that someone will argue the Steve Martin “King Tut” song is cultural appropriation.
It's interesting how entertainment media outlets are purposefully inflating the debate around Steve Martin's King Tut song to make it seem like "millenials"* are doubting his whole career, when it's just Gen-Z asking whether that song is cultural appropriation
@BradHubert @SteveMartinToGo I think people get it, I think it was just a corny white people song that may have been funny 40 years ago but his mocking of cultural appropriation, is still cultural appropriation. Jokes fall flat when they really aren’t that funny.
@LarryBnDC @jeff_thompson No one is saying it’s cultural appropriation. Some young’un said “I don’t get this, it’s just stupid” and suddenly there’s a bunch of tweets going around saying the left cancelled Steve Martin

As many netizens continued to jump on the Steve Martin hate bandwagon, netizens of older generations took to their Twitter accounts to defend the comedian. Some stated that Gen Z did not understand Martin’s mockery of commercialism.

Steve Martin was making fun of white people doing cultural appropriation before anyone else and it is making the kids of today confused
@TrekRecall @skitdebbies Not a single person in 4 decades has claimed Steve Martin's King Tut was cultural appropriation. Not. One.
Steve Martin played King Tut a thousand years ago and now the left wants to cancel him?
If you don't think Steve Martin making fun of tourist consumerism is funny then I'm sorry but I cannot find you attractive…
If it was Andy Samberg or Tim Robinson doing King Tut all the kids would get it. People think Steve Martin doesn’t know how stupid the song is
The fact that Steve Martín is trending because a generation has decided to take issue with a 3 minute King Tut sketch from SNL in the 70s tells me 3 things.The Right AND Left are losing their ability to humor.We’re all WAY to sensitive.Steve Martin is still awesome.

A few internet users also made the issue political and claimed that the hate against Martin was “manufactured outrage” by right-wing supporters.

Thousands of tweets slamming those who criticized Steve Martin and his "King Tut" sketch. Zero tweets actually criticizing Steve Martin for his "King Tut" sketch. Manufactured outrage is 100% a right-wing thing.

Though the tweet of the SNL clip went viral due to it being the 44th anniversary of the performance, some believed that the source for Martin's trend was from a Reed College, Portland incident. Students were reportedly shown the actor’s King Tut sketch, and one activist student found the piece racist and offensive.

🤣🤣🤣 A woke Oregon college classroom called Steve Martin's indelible King Tut skit "racist."Hollywood giant David Mamet - who directed Steve's brilliant turn (playing against type) in THE SPANISH PRISONER - is on to something.

The source of the sudden outrage has not yet been confirmed. It can be assured that the attempted cancelation of the comedian has proven to be a failure. Passionate fans of the actor have secured the internet that Martin will continue to shine in the limelight even if younger generations do not understand his humor.

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Edited by Suchitra
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