'Saturday Night Live' Makes China Debut, Despite Censorship Triggers

Saturday Night Live has been made available to Chinese viewers since a video streaming website, Sohu Video, began to exclusively show the popular US comedy sketch show. Ten episodes of the show's current 39th season have been made available through the site, which is a unit of the Nasdaq-listed Sohu.com Inc.

Jimmy Fallon
The Wit & Wisdom Of Jimmy Fallon Will Be Shared With A Chinese Audience.

Soon more episodes of the weekend show will be uploaded the Monday after being aired in the United States although will not have subtitles at first. A version with Chinese subtitles and explanations of the cultural references made during the show will be made available the following Saturday, according to the AP.

Chinese films and television shows are routinely censored to prevent criticism of political leaders or socially sensitive content, such as sexually suggestive humour, and SNL frequently tests those boundaries. Past topics on the show have courted controversy, including a sketch of a press conference with then Chinese President Hu Jintao berating President Barack Obama over the national debt.

Seth Meyers
Seth Meyers Will Soon Be Entertaining China Via Sohu Video.

Foreign TV channels are only allowed very limited access to China and foreign content is imported or reformatted. However, broadcasted TV shows are subject to greater scrutiny than online video, which has helped sites like Sohu become successful without being hindered.

We're pretty sure Lady Gaga's 'SNL' hosting will face a few eyebrows in China.

Sohu Chairman and CEO Charles Zhang said he wasn't worried that the show's edgy themes, such as the typically Chinese no-go topics of sex and politics, would get them into trouble in China. "Things that are controversial in America are probably not controversial in China," he said. "And this talk show is in the spirit of fun and humor. I don't think there will be any problem."

Kenan Thompson
Kenan Thompson's Hilarious 'SNL' Sketches Will Be Taken Eastwards.

Zhang also spoke of his hope that Chinese production companies would move into creating similar Chinese-language content in similar formats if the SNL stream proved popular.

After nearly 40 years of NBC broadcast, the show has proved an invaluable launch pad for some of the biggest names in US comedy, including Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, Kenan Thompson and Will Ferrell. The show regularly recruits big name guest hosts, with Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus having recently hosted.


Tags: Jimmy Fallon - Kenan Thompson - Kristen Wiig - Will Ferrell


More Jimmy Fallon

Jay Leno Praised And Teased By Peers As He Lands Coveted Mark Twain Comedy Prize

Chat show host and comedian Jay Leno lands the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which comes months after his final retirement from NBC's...

Barbra Streisand Makes Special Appearance On 'The Tonight Show'

Ahead of the release of her 34th studio album Partners, singing legend Barbra Streisand was Jimmy Fallon’s guest on Monday evening’s ‘The Tonight Show’. The...

Jared Leto Given Surprise Beard Trim On 'The Tonight Show' [Pictures]

Actor and singer Jared Leto was treated to a surprise beard trim when he made an appearance on ‘The Tonight Show’ on Wednesday. Host Jimmy...

Pierce Brosnan Plays 'GoldenEye' With Jimmy Fallon. Yes, Really.

When James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan made an appearance on ‘The Tonight Show’ with Jimmy Fallon, he got a little more than he perhaps bargained...


The Gaming World Set to Pay Tribute to Robin Williams With World of Warcraft NPC

As the world mourns the death of one of its finest entertainers, Robin Williams’ love for videogames is set to manifest in another type of...

Jimmy Fallon Talks "Craziest" Year Ever And Parenthood Being "Exciting"

Jimmy Fallon is certainly on top of his game in this last year.To kick off 2014, the 39 year-old comedian was bestowed with the task...

Jimmy Fallon & Tom Cruise Play 'Face-Breakers' On Tonight Show - Smashing Good Fun?

"So we'll be throwing footballs at that wall of glass with our faces on it," are words any average person would never think they would...

Late Night Renaissance - How This Winter's Changes Are Paying Off For Fallon, Kimmel, Leno And The Networks

Seven months after Fallon’s Tonight takeover, everything looks great in Late Night Land. Not only has the former late night host managed to revive ratings,...



Jimmy Fallon Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Jimmy Fallon

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All