Video: SNL Parodies Scottish Air Traffic Controllers

Filed Under: Humor, Videos

Saturday Night Live seems to have air travel themed skits with some frequency nowadays. I’d say they’re mostly pretty funny, though I think generally the more you know about a topic, the less funny these skits become.

For example, in the past couple of years we’ve seen SNL do skits about rapping Southwest flight attendants…

And about Aer Lingus…

And about US Customs & Border Protection agents…

Well, this past weekend SNL has released their latest air travel themed skit, and it’s about air traffic controllers. No, it had nothing to do with the government shutdown. Rather, here’s how it’s described:

A Scottish air traffic controller (James McAvoy) with a heavy accent tries to guide a plane to a safe landing.

Here’s the video:

I thought the skit was funny — not laugh out loud funny, but amusing nonetheless.

I could also really relate to it. I’m usually really good with understanding accents, but a couple of months back I was at British Airways’ pre-flight dining at JFK, and a Scottish gentleman was seated at the table across from me.

He started talking to me, and I felt horrible, because I couldn’t understand a word he said. I’ve been to Scotland before, but this guy’s accent was next level. I felt bad and didn’t want to say “sorry, I can’t understand you,” so I just laughed at what he said, nodded, agreed, and ate really quickly so I could leave and get myself out of the awkward situation.

  1. I’m an Englishman but I lived in Scotland for a few years. Some of the accents were easy for me – Edinburgh, Aberdeen, even the northern Islands. But Glasgow was another world: it took more than a year for my ear to tune into it.

    Interestingly, the accents mostly become much more restrained when they sing pop songs (except for The Proclaimers, of course).

  2. Shoot, I’m from Jersey and met some Alabama boys while in the military. Forget Scotland or Wales, I couldn’t understand 50% of the “American English” coming out of their mouths!

  3. I once managed a project with stakeholders from Glasgow, Scotland at large and South Wales. I’m based in London but I was born and bred in Canada. The daily conference calls were P-A-I-N-F-U-L.

    But then I discovered the Geordie accents. Oh boy.

  4. This is terribly not funny. Worse than a Will Ferrell movie. Can’t believe the good sketch comedy shows (MAD TV, Kids in the Hall) are off the air and this crap remains.

  5. I don’t get why SNL is so popular in the states… Isn’t the humor just a little weak and simple minded?

  6. This was at least funny compared to the Aer Lingus one with Saoirse Ronan. Scottish humour is full of self deprecating jokes about the unintelligible nature of thick Scottish accents. They take pride in being able to speak English that the English themselves cannot understand. McAvoy’s delivery is spot on and at least he has played some lighter character’s in his acting career.

    On the other hand the Aer Lingus skit was full of lazy stereotypes about the Irish, a deriding dug at the airlines which insults the language, all delivered by an actor who was a fish out water in a comedy sketch. Really bad.

  7. Had an experience like the SNL skit going through immigration… in Glasgow. I had thought to myself, “Hmmm, I wonder if I’ll hear some thick accents once I get to the highlands? Yeah, that’ll be fun! I can’t wait!” Well, it wasn’t in the highlands, and it wasn’t fun. The immigration agent at GLA – the very first person I spoke with in Scotland – had (apparently?) asked me three times “How long are you staying in Scotland” (except it didn’t sound like that at ALL). Yep. I felt like the idiot I’m sure he thought I was. He stamped my passport and I crawled away…

    Oh well, my spirits were lifted by the following insightful Scottish Travel Guide:

  8. OMG, the Aer Lingus bit used a mock-up of a BAe-146. When was the last time any of us flew on one of those, and how did SNL come to use it?

  9. SNL is trash these days. Not funny anymore.

    And yet two Wong doesn’t make a White is consider racist.

    So SNL is now pro Trump?
    Make SNL great again???

  10. Travel 30 miles in the uk and the accent and dialect changes. In the west of Scotland where Glasgow is the dialect is lallans . The words are different- a mix of English,French with some Dutch idioms and a few Norse and other words. It’s different.
    In if ye Dini ken whit your hearin then dinne hod yur weesh un be a bam,just act gallus un say whit ye waant ye Ken. We dinni bite.
    After 30 years overseas,sandhurst and jobs in most continents I sound more outlander than glesga these days.when younger I sounded like Sir Billy Connolly.

  11. One word. RACIST! This is disrespectful to the people who actually work at Glasgow’s International Airport, and showing the Scottish flag just adds to the insult. Watch this space…

  12. Wow.. I thought it was hilarious! And certainly not racist. Where is everyone’s sense of humor? My granny and poppa immigrated from Glascow Scotland along with my dad in the 1950s. The skit brought back wonderful memories of listening to that thick accent and my dad and I had a good laugh discussing it. And I know if my grandparents were still with us.. they would be laughing too.. lighten up people!

  13. I thought it was very funny! Just a few minutes ago I was reading the “Mirror” online. I clicked on a news link and a video started playing. It was a someone with the Scottish Police making an announcement. For a second, I was trying to figure out what language he was speaking. Once my ear adjusted to the accent, I realized it was English and could understand him.

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