SNL skewers CNN, mocking network's 'pointless 80s-style' animated graphics ... but quickly comes under fire itself for 'disgusting' jokes about Germanwings

  • Sketch mocked network's coverage of air disaster and other major stories
  • Brooke Baldwin stand-in admitted network had no actual footage of news
  • Instead played awful 80s CGI recreation of inside of doomed passenger jet
  • Illustrated Iran nuclear talks with puppets, and danced out controversial Indiana religious freedom law with Don Lemon chiming in
  • Audience - including a CNN producer - tweeted their amusement

There can't always be a TV camera rolling when the big news happens - and Saturday Night Live has taken network news to task for how they paper over the cracks.

The NBC sketch show parodied the daytime CNN Newsroom, which turned into a series of let-downs when it emerged there was no footage for the stories they were covering.

But the ingenious producers for the skit managed to cover up with abysmal animations to illustrate the Germanwings crash, U.S.-Iran diplomacy, and domestic politics.

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Cutting edge: SNL writers joked that CNN's animations look like they belong in 1985. Above was 'their impression' of what the doomed pilot of the crashed Germanwings jet may have looked like trying to get into the cockpit

Cutting edge: SNL writers joked that CNN's animations look like they belong in 1985. Above was 'their impression' of what the doomed pilot of the crashed Germanwings jet may have looked like trying to get into the cockpit

Real thing: Above is an actual animation CNN aired to illustrate the pilot not being able to get back in

Real thing: Above is an actual animation CNN aired to illustrate the pilot not being able to get back in

An informative graphic of a man opening a door, and a producer's image of what the doomed pilot going to the bathroom may have looked like graced the screens, mocking their coverage of the tragedy.

It was seemingly inspired by a much-derided, clunky animation of a man hammering on a cockpit door. 

Cecily Strong, playing anchor Brooke Baldwin, introduced a badly-animated hand grasping at a doorknob.

A reporter then chimed in: 'We were lucky to get the same team who did the Dire Straits Money for Nothing music video in 1985.'

The problems continued when CNN was unable to get a fly-on-the-wall view of Iran's nuclear negotiations - and went for a puppet show instead.

Bobby Moynihan, playing a reporter on the ground, explained by saying: 'We couldn't get any footage from the actual negotiations - but once again CNN has the next best thing'.

'Next best thing': For its next story, CNN had no footage of the Iran nuclear animations, so went with Muppets-style puppets

'Next best thing': For its next story, CNN had no footage of the Iran nuclear animations, so went with Muppets-style puppets

Absurd: The network was imagined providing imagery for coverage of Indiana's religious freedom law through the medium of interpretative dance

Absurd: The network was imagined providing imagery for coverage of Indiana's religious freedom law through the medium of interpretative dance

Viewers were confronted with four Muppets-style puppets, including one representing John Kerry. A handshake to celebrate a deal being struck quickly escalated, with the Secretary of State sharing a passionate kiss with a U.S. diplomat.

The theater of the absurd peaked when the network admitted it hadn't bothered to send anybody to Indiana to cover the controversial religious freedom law there - so demonstrated with an interpretative dance instead.

They later added in 'random commentary' from Don Lemon, played by Michael Che, which consisted of the anchor repeating 'black people need to pull up their pants.' 

Then segment received a rapturous response on social media, with dozens of fans tweeting their appreciation.

Against the grain: Donald Trump spoke out against the skit, which he said was insensitive

Against the grain: Donald Trump spoke out against the skit, which he said was insensitive

Even some CNN personnel enjoyed the ribbing. Brenna Williams, an associate producer at the network, said in response to the Iran sketch: 'Don't be surprised if I pitch a puppet politics piece on Monday'

However, one high-profile dissenter was Donald Trump, who called laughing at the air disaster 'disgusting'.

Earlier in the show, sketchwriters turned their attention to the NCAA finals, hot on the heels of Duke's Blue Devils and the Wisconsin Badgers winning their way into the April 6 final.

Jahlil was busy: NBC imagined the impossible scenario of a college basketball player putting his studies ahead of sport

Jahlil was busy: NBC imagined the impossible scenario of a college basketball player putting his studies ahead of sport

A satirical skit imagined the Blue Devils coach acknowledging that his players were students before athletes - and holding back Jahlil Okafor from the big game so he could revise for a test.

Keenan Thompson, posing as head coach Mike Krzyzewski, said star player Okafor would be replaced by a 36-year-old incompetent to bone up on biology instead.

He told baffled reporters: 'These guys get paid in education - and if we can't give them that it'd be like Duke didn't pay me my salary of $10million this year, which would be insane!'

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