Just when you think the Try Guys cheating scandal is over, another layer of controversy arrives.
After a week and a half of furious online discourse about former Try Guy Ned Fulmer’s extramarital affair, the Guys have (somehow?) achieved enough mainstream recognition to warrant a Saturday Night Live parody. This weekend’s SNL included a sketch inspired by the Try Guys’ “what happened” video, where the three remaining Guys discussed the fallout from Fulmer’s affair.
The sketch pokes fun at the amount of media attention being paid to the Try Guys, casting Ego Nwodim and guest host Brendan Gleeson as a pair of news anchors commenting on the controversy. “So the full story is that your friend had a side chick and you fired him?” asks Nwodim, visibly confused about why anyone cares about the scandal.
“Yes,” hisses Bowen Yang, parodying Eugene Lee Yang’s palpable anger in the original video. “We had no choice, and we hope he’s somewhere on his back with a bullet in his brain and belly.”
Like a lot of SNL sketches, this isn’t exactly a comedic masterpiece. However it’s earning criticism for other reasons, with a lot of people arguing that SNL took the wrong angle on the scandal.
The joke here is twofold: The love life of a B-list YouTuber is absurdly unimportant compared to “real” news, and the Try Guys massively overreacted to something that doesn’t matter (an extramarital workplace affair). The remaining Try Guys are portrayed as ridiculously oversensitive, with one of them describing Fulmer’s behavior as “a horrific, violent and probably racist tragedy.” This angle attracted pushback because instead of making Fulmer the punchline, it takes aim at his business partners instead—a trio of men whose worst crime is being cringe.
(Some fans also accused SNL of having a pro-Fulmer bias due to him allegedly having friends in the writer’s room, but at present this hasn’t been proven.)
This sketch failed to understand the public’s attitude to the scandal. Obviously there’s a lot of schadenfreude around Fulmer’s affair, because it’s an incredible example of someone fumbling the bag. He literally shaped his brand around being a Wife Guy, then tanked his career by betraying his wife. It’s juicy gossip.
But people also took the scandal seriously because the Try Guys themselves set the tone. The sincerity of the “what happened” video signaled to their fanbase that the Try Guys wanted to hold Fulmer accountable. They made it clear that this wasn’t just a personal issue; it was a workplace relationship involving a boss and a subordinate, requiring input from HR professionals. People responded positively to this transparency, in part because we’re not used to seeing male celebrities face repercussions for bad behavior—even though Fulmer’s affair was not “bad” in the sense of being abusive or dangerous.
In the words of one viral response, “this skit says way more about snl’s workplace environment than it ever will about the try guys.” Instead of satirizing one of the many other easily-mockable elements of the scandal, SNL made fun of the idea that people care about infidelity or workplace misconduct. So the sketch just didn’t land with people who care about the Try Guys.