This week on Saturday Night Live, Bowen Yang was once again a standout cast member.
Following a fun turn as Daddy Long Legs in “Bug Assembly” earlier in the night, he appeared on Weekend Update as an Oompa Loompa to talk about the photos of Timothée Chalamet’s Willy Wonka/”Twonka” that leaked earlier this week.
Comedy sketches, like Wonka candies, come in two varieties. There are the one-joke sketches — these are like Pixie Sticks, a tube of sugar designed for a sweet rush. Then there are the layered sketches — like Gobstoppers, there’s a lot going on and the flavor’s always changing. This was a great example of the latter.
Yang was introduced as “a proud, gay, Oompa Loompa” (watch the clip above), but it turns out that he hadn’t told his family he was gay. In fact, he’s there to talk about unsafe working conditions in Willy Wonka’s candy factory. So he’s forced to talk about labor relations while also trying to hold in his anxiety about his family finding out about his sexuality for the first time on national TV.
The Oompa Loompa torn between wanting to call his family, but trying to stay on task and “read my little paper” full of OSHA violations (in cutesy, “scrum-diddly-umptious” Wonka language, natch), keeps adding levels to the bit. Then, of course, there’s his salacious description of Chalamet, who looks as “yummy as lickable wallpaper.”
On top of that layer, there’s the Oompa Loompa’s cattiness at war with his outrage at the dangerous work environment. And on top of that is him pointing out the inherent absurdity of people singing about dead kids. Lastly, beneath it all is the fear of a real-world IATSE strike; though a deal was made on Saturday to avoid the TV and film production shutdown, you can bet Lorne Michaels had a sleepless night or two at the thought of SNL going dark for weeks (or months) while his crew picketed 30 Rock.
Elsewhere in this week’s episode, Squid Game was re-imagined as a sad song country music video, while the cold open tackled the NFL email scandal.
How did host Rami Malek’s episode rank overall? Grade the episode in the following poll, then drop a comment with your full review.
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