Camp Week: Is This the Most Uncomfortable Camping Sketch Ever Made?

Contrary to what the Jack and Jill trailer would have you believe, I remember a time when Adam Sandler at least tried to create funny characters. Then again, which campers here remember SNL‘s “Canteen Boy,” the nature-fanatic assistant scoutmaster who displayed acute characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome? To refresh your memory, most Canteen Boy sketches revolved around Sandler’s character being teased by fellow scouts for being a slow idiot. Yikes, SNL.

But if the excuse-y disclaimer at the beginning is any indication, the Canteen Boy world ratcheted up the inappropriate meter to a whole new level in Alec Baldwin’s episode. This sketch is a party favor bag stuffed to the brim with uncomfortable, then packed with love by NAMBLA. Throw in the isolation of camping – and you’ve got yourself a discomfort fiesta!

So, is child molestation funny? The first few minutes of this sketch are virtually jokeless, a different kind of uncomfortable – like being the sole audience member at a bad open-mic night. Things really only pick up when Alec Baldwin’s scoutmaster starts laying it on thick for Canteen Boy — and by laying it on thick, I mean sucking on Canteen Boy’s fingers and sticking his erection God knows where. In the real world, hetero or homo, this would qualify as normal foreplay were it between two consenting
adults.

Okay fine, they reassured us the character is actually a 27-year-old man, but when Baldwin moans “Canteen Boy” over and over, you have to question what kind of picture the SNL writers were actually trying to paint? Either they want us to think we’re watching a scoutmaster seduce a child, or we’re watching a scoutmaster seduce a mentally handicapped man. Or maybe SNL was taking a political stance against pedophilia in the Boy Scouts. Right? Right? Throw me a bone here, guys. Wait, no, no bones.

If this sketch had been written more recently, Canteen Boy might have been “Altar Boy,”
and we could have had the joy of watching a priest try to stick his cross in Altar Boy’s
Catholic rectory. What a lark!

Naturally, when this sketch aired it pissed a lot of people off, and SNL doesn’t exactly hold a good track record when it comes to homophobic humor. Yet it was still included on the “Best of Adam
Sandler” VHS (VH-what?), and the disclaimer was actually added specificallt for that. For some good, clean camping comedy, I suggest sticking to Wet Hot American Summer. There’s a homosexual love scene in that too, but it’s much more tastefully done.

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