NBC's Saturday Night Live took viewers to Gotham City in its latest episode (hosted by Chance The Rapper), most likely in honor of Justice League hitting theaters this weekend. That being said, this was a view of the DC universe that we don't often see: the reactions of the everyday citizens of Gotham City, voicing their complaints about the excessive vigilante hijinks of Batman.
The sketch takes place in Wayne Manor during its annual holiday food drive as Bruce Wayne (Beck Bennett) meets with members of the inner city who benefit the most from the drive. "We haven't gotten this lucky since the Joker hikacked the Fresh Direct truck and left it open in the projects," says Leslie Jones' character.
However, the situation quickly devolves from a nice meet-and-greet into a community roast of Batman right in front of Bruce, who apparently goes a little too hard with his crime fighting in the minority-concentrated communities of Gotham. "Can you tell him to cool it down in our neighborhoods?" asks Chance, playing the son of Jones, when Bruce confides that he knows the Caped Crusader personally. "Somebody's gotta do something about him," continues Chance. "I mean, he broke my best friend's jaw in two places, and all he did was steal a TV. That's excessive."
It soon comes to light, as more community members come forward, that Batman is notorious for breaking people's jaws in multiple places and hanging them from gargoyle statues by their underwear, even for misdemeanors like littering. He also once crashed a plane on someone's street and then just walked away.
The more these people bash the hero, the more Wayne's dignified and aristocratic exterior hilariously begins to crack as he comes dangerously close to revealing his secret identity in his defense of the vigilante's actions. When they brainstorm ideas to get back at Batman and suggest burning down the Batcave, "Not my cave!" splutters a nervous Wayne, who quickly follows it up with "Is what he would say, I'm sure."
The sketch ends with one of the Gotham residents saying that her cousin is currently locked up with the Joker and they're hatching a plan to end Batman for good, and it involves cutting off an important, not often displayed part of his anatomy.
While a comical spoof on the accountability of superheroes, the skit is also relevant in a time when police continue to make headlines for excessive force against members of the African-American community. It's a satire of the collateral damage caused in comic book universes as well as a social commentary on modern-day law enforcement in our own universe.
This is not the first time SNL has poked fun at the cowl-wearing protector of Gotham. When Steve Buscemi hosted in 2011, he played a fatigued Commissioner Gordon, fed up with Batman (Andy Samberg) visiting him at the least opportune times, in Gordon's shower and during a prostate exam.