Ed. Note: Unfortunately, the video has been removed by NBC Universal. You'll just have to imagine it.

If you saw the Jim Carrey/Iggy Azalea episode of "Saturday Night Live," you saw the Halloween sketch in which Carrey and Kate McKinnon parodied Sia's "Chandelier" music video which features an intricate contemporary modern dance routine.


Don't get me wrong: Their performances were great, but my favorite part of the sketch happened before those two even showed up on stage, when Vanessa Bayer's character is trying to figure out what her coworkers' costumes are supposed to be.

Vanessa Bayer tries to guess her co-workers' Halloween costumes. Image from "Saturday Night Live."

We'd all love to think that we don't treat people differently based on their race, or gender, or body shape, or whatever — but the unfortunate truth is that we all do it a little bit sometimes. Halloween is supposed to be a time when we can all dress up as other people, characters, objects, and/or really bad puns.

The beginning of this sketch really shows how, even when it comes to Halloween — or any costumed event (shoutout to Comic Con and Purim!) — things like race, gender, age, and/or body shape become the things that we have trouble letting people shed even though they're pretending to be someone or something else.

Sasheer Zamata is Vanna White. Would that be your first guess? Image from "Saturday Night Live."

So what did I mean by that? In this sketch, Bayer's character isn't a cartoonishly evil racist or maliciously fatphobic. She doesn't intend to offend anyone. But she does make some accidentally offensive assumptions about her coworkers' costumes.

First Bayer assumes that Sasheer Zamata is dressed as Rihanna or Beyoncé because she's wearing a long sparkly dress and long blonde wig, but more significantly because she's black. Her first guess isn't the correct answer — Vanna White — because Vanna White is, well, white, even though Sasheer's costume is spot on.

Aidy Bryant is assumed to be dressed as a meatball or a marble — not because she's wearing a meatball or marble costume, but because she happens to be wearing a red dress, and more significantly, because of her body shape.

Aidy Bryant's character forgot to wear a costume. Image from "Saturday Night Live."

The butt of the joke here isn't Sasheer or Aidy. The butt of the joke is Vanessa Bayer's character — the person who is using tired stereotypes. We should laugh at people who use stereotypes. We shouldn't laugh at stereotypes. And this sketch pulls that off brilliantly.

**JUST TO BE CLEAR, because some people are sending me angry, confused e-mails: I think this sketch is fantastic. It is not offensive. It does not make fun of stereotypes, it makes fun of people who stereotype other people. In the comedy world that's called "punching up." **

Peg Hunter/Flickr/cc

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. You can read it here.

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