SNL actors Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Kyle Mooney, and Aidy Bryant land laughs in this disturbingly accurate depiction of senior citizens using smart speaker technology.
The mock Alexa device, co-sponsored by AARP in the sketch, is both hilarious and depressing, because “the latest technology isn’t always easy to use for people of a certain age.”
Amazon Echo Silver is advertised as being “specifically used by the Greatest Generation,” with selling points such as being “super loud.”
It answers to any possible name that sounds remotely like Alexa, including Allegra and Excedrin. It patiently responds to repeatedly asked questions, and reiterates the parts of a conversation that’s been immediately forgotten. Amazon Echo Silver also actively listens to “long, rambling stories,” via its “uh huh” feature that validates the speaker, seemingly keeping them company.
One of the running gags of the segment is when the characters ask a question, increasingly forgetting more of what they just asked, then at the end they all say, “I don’t know about that,” implying seniors have a cynical mistrust of just about everything.
In terms of social commentary, the sketch highlights, and thwarts, the commonality of institutionalized racism — when a senior asks for “black jazz,” Amazon Echo Silver says, “Playing, uh, jazz.”
Amazon Echo Silver also scans rooms for lost items, and this is when the voice-activated smart speaker finally shows impatience with a long sigh.
As an inappropriately appropriate jab at the end of the sketch, the advertisement says to send a check or money to order Amazon Echo Silver, just like the silver fox in front of you at the grocery store.
“Amazon recently launched new features for its Amazon Echo, including the ability to take full-length photos with a camera that will also judge user’s outfit choices,” reports Fortune. “The company also recently announced the new Amazon Echo Show, which is a seven-inch touchscreen with more powerful speakers.”