John Krasinski And Pete Davidson's 'SNL' Kiss Isn't Comedy — It's Queerbaiting

Photo: YouTube 
John Krasinski and Pete Davidson

John Krasinski and Pete Davidson shared a comedically timed kiss on SNL’s stage, but what exactly was the joke? 

Krasinski took on hosting duties for a Jan. 30 airing of the infamous comedy sketch show and his opening monologue featured an intimate moment shared with SNL cast member Davidson. 

The show has had its share of "misses" when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation, but this Davidson-Krasinski kiss seems to be particularly poorly thought out for a show that strives to be on the forefront of liberal comedy. 

The moment was staged as part of a skit about The Office, the 2000s series that gave Krasinski his break.

SNL castmembers acting as audience members repeatedly interrupted Krasinski’s monologue to ask about his character Jim and his on-screen partner Pam. 

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After audience members demand to see Krasinski kiss Pam, Pete Davidson arrives onstage to play the role in Jenna Fischer’s absence. 

"I think they really need for someone to be Pam," Davidson tells Krasinski. "I think we've got to give them what they want. Jim, I think you have to kiss Pam."

The result? A kiss between Davidson and Krasinski, and an eruption of laughter from the audience. 

Now let’s be clear. SNL is typically harmless fun and comedy that is not to be taken too seriously. And there’s nothing wrong with two straight men sharing a kiss if they choose to.

But when that kiss is used as the climax of a comedic monologue on a stage that has made some controversial jibes at the gay community, who is laughing? 

Some called out the sketch as an example of performative queerness that insinuates LGBTQ+ representation without actually giving the mic to non-heterosexual people. 

It is the kind of queerbaiting that many movies, books, and TV shows use to feign an interest in the LGBTQ+ community without actually seeking to represent them in any meaningful way. 

As LGBTQ+ misrepresentation goes, this isn’t the worst offense a show could make, but as a society, we’ve surely moved past seeing men kissing as a joke. The scene seems like low-hanging fruit for a team of writers who should know better than to use homosexuality as comedy. 

RELATED: How LGBT Characters On TV Have Helped Queer Culture Become (Almost) Mainstream

Some fans of the show did express joy and adoration at the exchange, clearly impressed by the scene.

And sure, Krasinski and Davidson do demonstrate a level of comfort with their sexualities that is somewhat refreshing coming from straight men. But the scene still misses the mark. 

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There is nothing flattering to the LGBTQ+ community about straight people mimicking queerness to look more accepting or free-thinking.

Had the sketch featured a female cast member in Davidson’s place there wouldn’t have been quite the same level of laughter or so-called comedic effect. Social media would probably be ablaze with dating rumors instead. 

Why? Because we don’t think a man and woman kissing is the same as two men kissing. There is an air of ridicule and mockery that follows homosexual encounters that we don’t see in the response to heterosexual exchanges.  

If we can’t view two men kissing as something normal and not worth laughing at or making a big deal out of, progress towards the normalization of homosexuality is stunted.

And if society can’t stop making homosexual encounters into a gimmick, then that progress will never be achieved. 

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a generalist with an interest in lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.