Lafayette was on ‘SNL’ last weekend, and it was “surreal”

A screen grab of the "Bayou Benny" title card featuring AOC's actual logo. Photo Courtesy of Saturday Night Live

Saturday brought the sketch heard all ‘round Cajun country.

During last weekend’s Saturday Night Live the venerable NBC sketch comedy show premiered “Bayou Benny’s Liberal Lagniappe.” You can view it here.   

In it, cast-member Beck Bennett plays Bayou Benny and hosts a roundtable discussion of politics with Taylor Swift (played by cast-member Heidi Gardner), a gator (who went to Tulane), a chili pepper with sunglasses (played by Kate McKinnon) and host Seth Meyers. “SNL” performer Aidy Bryant also made an appearance as the Benny’s sidekick, Mary Ann Conroe.

“Bayou Benny’s Liberal Lagniappe” struck a chord with Lafayette residents due to its broad depiction of Cajuns, but we’ll save the opinions for another time. What really stuck out about the sketch was its use of Acadiana Open Channel (AOC) logo during the introduction.

Ed Bowie, the AOC executive director, didn’t see the sketch on Saturday night, but he woke up to about 15 text messages on Sunday.

“My wife picked up my phone and said, ‘You’ve got a bunch of messages about Saturday Night Live. What did you do?” Bowie says, laughing.

Bowie watched “Bayou Benny,” and though he didn’t enjoy the sketch, he loved that the logo was used at the top of it.

“AOC really loved the publicity,” Bowie says. “We were unaware that they would do that skit. We’ve had a couple people think we did that, but it wasn’t us. If they used the logo again, it would tickle me to death.”

Blake P. Lagneaux, exhibits curator and creative director for Lafayette Science Museum, helped create the logo used in the sketch. Lagneaux worked on the AOC logo about 5 or 6 years ago when he was employed at the publicity and marketing firm Right Angle.

Seeing his work on one of his favorite shows was surreal, Lagneaux says.

“To see something you worked on so closely on a show of that scale was bizarre to say the least,” Lagneaux says. “People who know me well know that I love Saturday Night Live. When I saw the logo, I had a reaction of, ‘Why is this happening?’”

Lagneaux is the type of SNL fan who watches week-in and week-out. He’ll root for new cast members. He’ll argue with casual viewers about “down years.” He’s a fan of the show like Ragin’ Cajuns are fans of football games.

Lagneaux wishes the sketch would have been funnier, but he says he’s “flattered that they even looked (the logo) up and used it.”

“It was harmless,” he says. “I think some are getting bent out of shape because it’s inaccurate. I don’t think we need any think-pieces on it.”

Fair enough. That being said, Bowie did say a rebuttal may be coming.

“AOC won’t be doing a rebuttal,” Bowie says, “but there are people doing something, and it may or may not air very soon.”

Sarah Brown, the artistic director of Silverbacks Improv Theatre, confirms that the comedy troupe has written and filmed what they call a “video clap-back” to the sketch.

The Silverbacks’ sketch will be a “Weekend Update”-style show called “Liberal Lagniappe.”

“We pull references from the ‘Bayou Benny’ sketch, like the chili pepper and the gator,” Brown says.

Brown, who had studied comedy at The Annoyance Theater in Chicago, is also a huge fan of SNL. She didn’t mind the “Bayou Benny” sketch, and hopes it will enable the improv troupe.

“Honestly, I’m thrilled about it,” Brown says. “It feels like such a good opportunity. I felt like it was shouting to me and Silverbacks, and asking us, ‘What are you going to do with this?’” Brown says that the Silverbacks rebuttal will air in the immediate future. For more information, keep your eyes peeled to Silverback’s Facebook page.