Where is the line in comedy? How far is too far? For one Saturday Night Live writer, too far turned out to be a joke involving Donald Trump’s 10-year-old son.
Katie Rich tweeted last Friday, on what is now known as A Day of Patriotic Devotion, that “Barron will be this country’s first homeschool shooter.” There is a mostly unspoken rule in politics about not going after children, but the rule is traditionally something of a gray area in comedy, where the boundaries of good taste are constantly tested. It is especially a gray area at SNL, which has in the past lampooned the children of Rudy Giuliani, George W. Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and other politicians. While Rich’s tweet was by no means a paragon of good taste, it did occur off the clock and was quickly followed by this classy mea culpa: “I sincerely apologize for the insensitive tweet. I deeply regret my actions & offensive words. It was inexcusable & I’m so sorry.” Given all of these circumstances, it does not seem to Co.Create like enough of an offense to merit an indefinite suspension from the show she has written for since late 2013. One person who agrees on that front is the creator of Community and Rick and Morty, Dan Harmon.
Hours after SNL announced the suspension that sounds suspiciously like a firing, Dan Harmon tweeted the above message. Several of the comedy writer’s 381K followers wrote back to express their sincere desire that Harmon would indeed hire her at Rick and Morty or some other project. After all, the tweet didn’t exactly provide any explanation. It might have turned out to simply be Harmon relaying his opinion that someone should hire this apparent free agent. He soon clarified what he meant, though, in a follow-up tweet.
So there you have it. While Harmon acknowledges that Katie Rich is not a charity case in desperate need of work, he would like to throw his hat in the ring to bring her onto his team. While he’s previously professed a desire to get a female voice in the Rick and Morty writers room, this offer seems less like a quota fill than Harmon standing up for something he believes in, and making a competitive offer for top comedy talent. Co.Create will be watching to see what move Rich makes next, Rick and Morty or otherwise.