‘SNL’ referenced the ‘slap a teacher’ TikTok challenge hoax in a ‘male Ellen’ sketch starring Jason Sudeikis

A man wearing a light blue button-up shirt, a red and yellow tie, and glasses closing his eyes in anticipation of an incoming slap - there's a hand moving towards his face on the right side of the image
Police, teachers, and parents are warned against an alleged ‘slap a teacher’ TikTok challenge in September and October, but TikTok said that it hadn’t found content related to the challenge on its platform. Besart Beluli / EyeEm
  • “Saturday Night Live” referenced the hoax “slap a teacher” challenge in a sketch on Saturday.
  • The sketch was an “Ellen DeGeneres Show” parody that starred Jason Sudeikis as a “male Ellen.”
  • Despite social media warnings, TikTok said the “slap a teacher” challenge didn’t exist on its app.

“Saturday Night Live” nodded to the alleged “slap a teacher” TikTok challenge, which TikTok itself said didn’t exist on its platform, in a Jason Sudeikis-fronted sketch that aired on Saturday.

The sketch, titled “Mellen,” stars Sudeikis as a “male Ellen” modeled after the host of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which is set to finish out its 19th and final season in 2022. The “Ted Lasso” star was the host of the Saturday’s episode and reprised his former “SNL” role as Vice President Joe Biden, circa-2013, in the episode’s cold open.

A hyper-masculine take on DeGeneres’ show, the “Mellen” sketch included a nod to the alleged “slap a teacher” TikTok challenge, for which warnings circulated on social media in September and October.

“Instead of the cute, inspiring kids that Ellen has on, Mellen has kids who slap their teachers to get famous on TikTok,” the narrator says, as an imitation TikTok video shows a student slapping a teacher behind a desk. The account featured in the imitation video does exist, but it bears an “SNL” related display name and has not published any videos to date.

“Someone get that kid a beer!” Sudeikis, as “Mellen,” says after the fake video rolls.

The “slap a teacher” challenge theoretically involved students posting videos of themselves slapping teachers as a play for views and likes on TikTok. Insider was unable to find evidence of the challenge trending or widely circulating on TikTok in early October, and a TikTok spokesperson told Insider that while it would violate the platform’s community guidelines, it had not found “related content on our platform.”

Warnings about the alleged TikTok challenge from schools and police began to circulate in September on social media – particularly Facebook – and were typically contained within a list of hypothetical TikTok challenges that posters claimed were associated with months of the upcoming year. The warnings came in the wake of the “devious licks” TikTok challenge that TikTok banned in September, which saw students stealing school equipment and posting about it on TikTok.

It’s not clear exactly where allegations of a “slap a teacher” challenge originated, but they appear to have spread predominately on Facebook. A TikTok spokesperson previously told Insider that “most people appear to be learning about the offline dare from sources other than TikTok.”

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