SNL’s Weekend Update turns ancient Alabama cave drawings into punchline

Largest Native American Cave Art
Stephen Alvarez at work in Unnamed Cave 19. (Alan Cressler, used with permission)

Bet this wasn’t on your 2022 bingo card. Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update with Colin Jost and  Michael Che joked about Alabama, and it had nothing to do about politics or football. 

The punchline? Last week’s announcement about a recent discovery of 2000 year- old drawings in caves up in North Alabama.

Here is the joke – but we recommend checking out the video too.

“Archaeologists have discovered thousand-year-old drawings in caves in Alabama. Guys, they’re bad.” ~ Michael Che

Alabama’s Famous Cave

As reported in The Bama Buzz and in newspapers around the world, Archaeologists have discovered the largest known Native American cave art images in a cave in Alabama. These five “pre-contact” (meaning, before any contact with outside cultures) drawings are over 2000* years old and may represent spirits of the underworld. 

The drawing included four that were human-like figures in elaborate regalia, while the fifth is a serpent. 

Researchers believe the serpent is a diamondback rattlesnake, which is not only the largest rattlesnake in North America but also an animal that was sacred to the Southeast Indigenous people.

SNL and Alabama

Alabama does tend to “pop-up” in the popular late night show. Last year, the skyline of Birmingham was used as a backdrop in one of the skits. Back in 2016, John Cena and the cast did a funny segment on Alabama football, that included a brief glimpse of Reese Phifer Hall on campus.

Do you have a favorite SNL clip that highlights Alabama? Let us know. Tag us on social media @thebamabuzz 

*Note: you’ll see a lot of stories saying the cave was radiocarbon dated to 1000 years old, but Alan Cressler, a member of the archaeological team told The Bama Buzz  something got lost in translation between the Antiquity journal publication which reported the group’s findings and the press releases that went out to the media.

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Pat Byington
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