A Resurfaced Steve Martin Sketch Has The Internet Seeing Red

Steve Martin’s original opening monologue for the “King Tut” sketch on “Saturday Night Live” has been cut from many of the videos floating around Twitter, according to user gallandguile. So they posted the sketch in its entirety with the caption calling the cut “a criminal offense that borders on libel. The whole thing is a punchline.”

The video begins with Martin, dressed as King Tut, saying, “I’d like to talk seriously just for a moment. One of the great art exhibits ever to tour the United States is ‘The Treasures of Tutankhamun,’ or King Tut. But I think it is a national disgrace the way we have commercialized it with trinkets and toys, t-shirts and posters.” He goes on to say that he retreated to the woods and wrote a song, explaining, “I tried to use the ancient modalities and melodies.”

Audience members can be heard laughing throughout his monologue, apparently anticipating an ironic twist. And Martin delivered — the solemn intro was followed by the sketch’s punchline, an elaborate set featuring Egyptian imagery and backup dancers dressed in the same costume style as Martin.

Martin’s performance following his monologue consisted of a silly song about how King Tut wouldn’t believe how popular the exhibit was and dance moves meant to be a send-up of Egyptian culture. However, what was meant to be an absurd take on the commercialization of Egyptian culture ultimately perpetuated that which it critiqued: the commodification, disrespect, and caricaturization of an ancient civilization.

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