As debates continue about the relative lack of diversity among late-night hosts, Seth Meyers has chosen to respond by acknowledging his status as a privileged straight white man. Every so often, Meyers will invite members of his diverse writing team up on stage to tell punchlines of jokes that would seem racist or offensive coming from him. Wednesday’s latest edition of Jokes Seth Can”t Tell got racy and awkward, and proved precautions can’t always stop striking a nerve.
As the bit started out, Amber Ruffin handled jokes about black people (on all four Tony musical acting awards going to black actors: “Said black people, ‘who Tony?'”) and Jenny Hagel tackled humor focused on the LGBTQ community (on the possibility of a lesbian couple in Finding Dory: “Audiences were suspicious after the couple spent the entire movie at Home Depot”). But by the end, the writers allowed Meyers to finally tell his own punchline — and the host chose one about new and diverse emojis.
“Facebook Messenger unveiled 1500 new emojis this week of different races, including a police officer, a runner, and a swimmer,” Meyers said. “Said black people, ‘We don’t need the swimmer, thanks.'”
Ruffin and Hagel got wide-eyed in disbelief.
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Ruffin said.
“You promised me it would be okay!” Meyers replied.
Watch the clip below.