By using such on-the-nose language, SNL not only pokes fun at the app itself, but the way scores of people have taken to it, using the exact language the company wants them to when explaining its appeal. That gives the sketch longer legs, because it works not only as a joke about the hot new social media platform of the moment, but the way people are constantly looking for an antidote to social media in the form of…more social media.
A game show sketch about creepy DMs satirized a thorny subject.
Another timely parody came in the “Send Something Normal” sketch, which presented a game show where celebrity contestants Adam Levine, Armie Hammer, and Neil deGrasse Tyson had to respond to a woman’s Instagram DM without being unsettlingly creepy to win $100 million. (Bowen Yang was also there playing himself, the show’s returning champion.)
The Levine and Hammer impressions, by Mikey Day and James Austin Johnson, respectively, sometimes veered a little off the mark, but the core concept of the sketch really worked, giving these famous men a nominal shot at redemption only for them to completely blow it. (Tyson has not had a DMing scandal, and the show itself neglects to mention his string of sexual misconduct allegations, that would seemingly make him a logical inclusion.)
Making light of famous men harassing women is a fraught topic, but SNL manages to wring out some genuine laughs–multiple contestants ask to see the woman in question’s “most liked vacation photo”–while painting the celebrities as inappropriate, boundary-crossing weirdos. “Send Something Normal” does make these guys’ indiscretions seem pretty fangless, but it’s good to keep their behavior in the cultural conversation, which is the point of timely comedy. (The kicker, Yang’s reaction to a DM from Dua Lipa, is an excellent touch.)
Parody feels good in a sketch like this.
The second digital short of the night took aim at Nicole Kidman’s AMC commercial, which has become a phenomenon unto itself. From lampooning the melodramatic ridiculousness of Kidman’s dialog to the growing trend of moviegoers standing up to salute when it plays in theaters, this was another winning bit of timely satire. Season 48, off to a pretty good start so far!