China is known for many things (communism, delicious food, a rapidly growing economy, strict censorship laws, sweatshop working conditions for the people who make iPads, the Great Wall, etc.), but political comedy and broad pop cultural satire doesn't tend to be one of them. That's about to change, as a new streaming deal has been reached that will bring new episodes of America's preeminent sketch comedy program, 'Saturday Night Live,' directly to the Chinese people.
The episodes will be broadcast on the Chinese website Sohu Video, which also currently streams popular American shows like 'Lost,' 'Masters of Sex,' 'Prison Break,' 'Modern Family,' 'House of Cards,' 'Homeland,' 'American Horror Story,' and 'The Big Bang Theory.'
Contrary to China's increasingly unwarranted reputation as a haven for illegal piracy of American film and TV content, most Chinese citizens now watch foreign programming legally on Sohu and sites like it. For instance, Sohu executives say that U.S. shows account for over 20 percent of the site's total traffic.
As of now, 10 episodes from 'SNL's current 39th season are available for Sohu users to watch. Future episodes will be made available on the Monday after their first NBC airing, and will be presented in English, without Chinese subtitles. For non-English speakers, a version complete with Chinese subtitles and explanations of American cultural references will be made available the following Saturday night.