The Denver Zoo is laughing off a Saturday Night Live skit about the facility, even though the focus of the routine was a fictional "animal pornographer" whose seemingly benign responses to a reporter played by host Scarlett Johansson were graphically describing acts of bestiality.
The SNL bit, on view below, kicks off with cast members Cecily Strong and Bobby Moynihan portraying Janet Loredo-Deekman and Alan "Fun Tie" Overbrook, anchors on a fictional morning-TV show called Good Day Denver. After a bit of banter, Loredo-Deekman introduces Donna Hemming and her guest, who, "cool-job alert," works as "a professional animal pornographer."
At that point, ScarJo, as Hemming, makes a joke about traffic on "the I-25," a phrase frequently used by no one ever, before starting to quiz Danny Bangs, portrayed by Mikey Day.
Before they get too far in their conversation, Loredo-Deekman interjects to apologize for accidentally referring to Bangs as an animal pornographer, noting that he's actually an "animal photographer." But this message is lost on the Good Day Denver tech department, which tosses up graphics that make everything Bangs says seem sexually deviant.
Example one: When Bangs says that he gets animals to "smile" for his photos by playing with them, being silly and bribing them with tweets, the graphic reads, "Animal Pornographer: 'I'll Do Anything With an Animal.'"
Example two: Bangs's explanation of how posting shots of animals on the Internet led to his being hired at the zoo, a graphic proclaims, "Animal Pornographer: 'I Started With Amateur Stuff Online.'"
Example three: After noting that the animals spotlighted in his photo book The Picture's a Little Fuzzy are listed alphabetically, from aardvark to zebra, a graphic states, "Animal Pornographer: 'I Finished on a Zebra.'"
Example four: Upon joking that he blew an assignment to get shots of a "funny little monkey" by forgetting to load film into his camera, a graphic notes, "Animal Pornographer on Monkey: 'I Blew It.'"
These are hardly the only randy double-entendre moments. Bangs also stresses that when he's assigned to photograph an animal, "I always come right away," and online tweeters respond with questions such as "What the f- is happening?" and "This dude have any horse stuff?" And that's not to mention Bangs's web address: dannybangsanimals.com.
Finally, SNL vet Kenan Thompson, as a zoo official, races into the shot to read a statement that sports the actual Denver Zoo logo. It reads: "The Denver Zoo does not condone animal pornography in any form. Furthermore, Danny Bangs will no longer have access to animals at the zoo while we investigate the extent of his crimes."
"What is this about?" Bangs asks afterward.
To that, the official replies, "You know what it's about, you monster!"
Yesterday, the zoo responded to the skit on both Facebook and Twitter with a take that reads, "Lots of chatter about the portrayal of Denver Zoo on Saturday Night Live last night. Just want to reassure you all, Danny Bangs is not a Denver Zoo employee." That's followed by an emoji with a confused expression.
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Dozens of people replied to this post on Facebook, and most of them praised the skit and the Zoo. Here's a sampling of reactions:
New York is just jealous that our giraffe had her baby way before they did hahaha.
The only thing offensive about this is Scarlett Johansson calling it "the" I-25.
That was one of the best skits SNL has done! So funny!! If anyone can't see the humor in it......I feel sorry for you! Kids shouldn't be up late watching that show anyway!
I thought it was funny...so like the news to have a banner to try and make you think what they want....glad they brought attention for Denver zoo. We all know it's a skit portraying how horrible news is lately.
It was amazing! Good for you for finding the humor it!
A certain person should take notes on how to react gracefully to SNL spoofs from you folks!
Could this last comment be a reference to a President of the United States? Watch the skit below.