SNL skit shares the 'Gospel,' mentions Jesus' death and resurrection

Actors participate in a Saturday Night Live skit titled 'Church on Vacation,' which aired on Feb. 24, 2024.
Actors participate in a Saturday Night Live skit titled "Church on Vacation," which aired on Feb. 24, 2024. | YouTube/Saturday Night Live

A "Saturday Night Live" skit told the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and featured a Bible verse, leaving one former cast member to wonder if this is the first time the popular sketch comedy show has shared the "Gospel" message. 

An over 4-minute skit titled "Church on Vacation" aired on the long-running NBC series' latest episode Saturday, which features a family of four Catholics from Ohio — two parents and two children — attending mass while on vacation in Jamaica. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, the skit amassed more than 1.7 million views on YouTube.

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The children, played by cast members Andrew Dismukes and Molly Kearney, are less than enthusiastic about attending the 6:30 a.m. mass during their vacation.

Dismukes' character asks his father, played by host Shane Gillis, "Did you have to drag us to church while we're on vacation?" Kearney's character asks, "Can't we skip one Sunday?" The father responded by indicating that he would not comply with their requests.

"Hey, we're Catholics, OK? I don't care where we are on Sundays; we go to church." 

"Church is church, no matter where you are in the world," he assured them.

The comedy in the sketch stems from the Jamaican accents of the priest and his assistant, as well as the congregation as a whole, while the family of American Catholics stands out and fails to keep up with their customs. The American father eventually begins to use Jamaican vernacular. 

After the priest inquires whether there are any guests in the congregation, the parishioners all look at the American family as if they were out of place.

The priest then tells the faithful "about Jesus and where you can find Him" before breaking into song: "Pon de manger, pon de cross, three days later, oh my God."

The priest's assistant, played by longtime cast member Kenan Thompson, sang "Him not there" as the clergyman asked, "Where Him go?" The assistant responded, "Up in Heaven," as the priest said, "that I know." 

After the song concluded, the father turned to his children and cited the musical performance as evidence that "church is church" no matter where in the world they are.

"Father is right, Jesus was pon de cross, died for our sins and three days later he gone, raise up into Heaven," he declared in a Jamaican accent.

The mother in the family, played by cast member Heidi Gardner, expressed bewilderment at her husband's sudden embrace of a Jamaican accent, asking him, "What are you saying?"

The priest invited the mother to the stage and urged her to share her favorite Bible verse. She identified 1 Corinthians 13 as her favorite Scripture passage, noting that it was recited at her wedding. 

"Love be patient. Love be kind," the priest's assistant reads aloud. From there, the priest and his assistant jump back into song as the American family is fully immersed in and excited by the Jamaican way of celebrating the mass.  

Former SNL cast member Victoria Jackson told Entertainment Weekly that she is unsure if the Gospel has ever been preached on SNL before. 

"Well, that's a first," she was quoted as saying. "I just heard the Gospel — the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus — in an SNL sketch! Awesome."

Comedian Melissa Jean tweeted: "So, Shane Gillis had SNL share the gospel message during a Jamaican church sketch. That seems historic to me." 

While the skit did touch on the death and resurrection of Jesus, it didn't elaborate that Christ died so that those who believe in Him shall have everlasting life. 

Others may find the skit objectionable as it could be seen as making fun of Christianity. Additionally, toward the end of the skit, as the music plays, the congregation begins to dance. One of the female congregants does a grinding dance with the American family's son. 

The inclusion of a scripture passage as well as one of the most basic teachings of Christianity on an episode of "Saturday Night Live" comes as a study conducted by HarrisX in collaboration with the Faith and Media Initiative sampling the opinions of nearly 10,000 people worldwide found that 69% of Americans believe that entertainment perpetuates stereotypes about religion. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed worldwide said the same.

At the same time, 55% of Americans and 59% of respondents worldwide agreed that they "learned something new/different about another religion after seeing it in a movie/show." 

Four days into Lent in 2013, another SNL skit made Jesus out to be a vengeful killer. The skit was intended to be a mock trailer for a film that its narrator describes as "the ultimate historical revenge fantasy." The fake film, titled "Djesus Uncrossed," was presented in the style of Quentin Tarantino films such as "Inglourious Basterds" and "Django Unchained."

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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