The popular American show Saturday Night Live made fun of Montreal and its famous “hello-hi”, among others, in a sketch broadcast during the episode last Saturday night.
Almost all the clichés about the metropolis are there: bagels, Celine Dion, traffic on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and above all bilingualism …
In this five-minute skit, comedians Bowen Yang and Kate McKinnon play Jean-Lawrence and Marie-Anne, very cartoonish newscast hosts who can’t help but constantly juggle the English and French, a thinly veiled way of making fun of this mania of Quebecers to want to translate everything into the language of Molière.
The title of the fictional show is even called “Bonjour-Hi”, a direct reference to the controversy over this expression commonly used in metropolitan businesses to greet customers.
From the start of the sketch, actor Bowen Yang jokingly presents Montreal as “the best part of Canada, but the worst part of France”, as a nod to the cultural duality of the Metropolis.
Later in the issue, the star of SNL drops a well-felt “tabar ****” in a desire to imitate the accent of the Belle Province.
It will not have escaped anyone’s notice, however, that the accent taken by the actors during this number resembles much more French from France than true speaking Quebecois.
Obviously, some might feel upset as a result of this satire, but at least Montreal is not the only Canadian city that took it for its cold Saturday night on American television.
Also in the same sketch, actress Issa Rae plays a correspondent in Toronto who is obsessed with meeting Toronto rapper Drake, as if it were the only attraction in Queen City.
Here again, the writers of SNL did not fail to make reference to certain cultural elements that are key to English Canada, such as the CN tower or the cult series Degrassi.