Saturday Night Live Belonged to Pedro Pascal

Saturday Night Live Belonged to Pedro Pascal

Flexing impressive turnaround muscles, Saturday Night Live opened on a spoof of the Chinese balloon that was shot down off the South Carolina coast yesterday. Chloe Fineman’s MSNBC anchor scored an exclusive interview with the remains of the surveillance balloon, a grumpy Bowen Yang encased in a white bubble suit and orange floaties, bobbing in the Atlantic. “I entertain you people for four days and then get shot by Biden!” he pouted. “I can’t believe I’m Joe’s Osama.” He blamed his passover of Montana on his entertainment tastes. “I love the show Yellowstone. It’s like Succession but outside.” Batting off a ridiculous seagull, he let it be known that he didn’t appreciate all the pundits commenting on his weight, comparing his size to that of three buses. “I’m a balloon, so that’s my body.” Yang in costume—the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, a humping bumblebee—always pays off. His reliable charisma could be the key to SNL taking back their cold opens. 

Now give it up for Daddy! Host Pedro Pascal bounded down the steps in his purple silk shirt, looking like it was his birthday party. The crinkly-eyed star of The Last of Us and The Mandalorian oozes warmth and gratitude. Some stars make it through their hosting gigs hanging on for dear life, their eyes darting for the cue cards. Pascal, meanwhile, looked ready to move into Studio 8H he was so relaxed and game. But during his monologue he also got visibly choked up calling out the bravery of his parents who fled Pinochet’s dictatorship when he was nine months old.   

After years of playing father figures and declaring himself a bigger Daddy than Oscar Isaac in Vanity Fair’s lie detector test, Pascal leaned right into his reputation in the Mr. Ben sketch. His high school students were hot for teacher, and who can blame them? Pascal in Mr. Ben’s shirt and tie gives off the equivalent heat of the Magic Mike’s Last Dance trailer. But Mr. Ben had a job to do, which was make sense of his students’ use of social media during school hours, which meant dissecting their short-circuited digital speak. “Covid lock us down when we 11 and now we 14 so now we have to make you Daddy,” explained Ego Nwodim’s student. “Mommy works remotes on day,” continued Yang, “and doesn’t have time to eat it up no crumbs left so we made you Daddy and Miss Jenny Mommy.” Enter an exquisite Sarah Paulson in a pixie cut, as a similarly befuddled teacher. The takeaway of all this is that teenagers have relocated to Mars through no fault of their own and Pascal and Paulson should star in a Nora Ephron-style romantic comedy, stat. 

Somewhere, Chris Pratt is crying into his glass of fresh farm milk with the knowledge that Dark Mario is the reboot the world needed. In a faux trailer for the prestige HBO series, Pascal plays our suffering hero who’s seen too much of this cruel world. Fineman is his bedraggled Princess, on the run from Kenan Thompson’s maniacal Goomba, “a sentient figure with shoes for legs.” Mikey Day is-a Luigi and everybody else in the cast is bisexual because HBO is cool and and no crumbs left on the Rainbow Road.  

Our affable host was in every sketch of the night. Marcello Hernandez’s disapproving Mama in a pink pant suit and white bob, curling her lip at her son’s gringo girlfriend Fineman, who had the nerve to bring vegan sliders into her house. A football fan overrun by Wing Pit, whose game day deals include 5000 wings, 10,000 beaks, a kiddie pool of ranch dressing, and hard slurry chicken smoothies. “Why are you doing this?!” Pascal cried out, as a cement chute dumped wings into his living room. Explained the sponsors of Wing Pit, “To honor Chirax, the chicken god of death!” 

This was Pascal’s night. Even Chris Martin, backed by a choir, dedicated Coldplay’s “Fix You” to Pascal and the memory of his dear mother. In the biggest joy bomb of the evening, Pascal joined Yang, Molly Kearney, Punkie Johnson, and Nwodim for dinner. Responding to Pascal’s polite small talk, Nwodim’s character warned ‘That’s cute, but don’t think you’re going to get any butt tonight.” She ordered steak extra extra well done, without a spot of red in it. As she tried sawing away at her meat, the table bumped and jumped, sloshing wine and peas all over the tablecloth. Pascal gave into the moment, giggling like a loon, his Santa laugh an antidepressant onto itself. “Antonio Banderas over here trying to get some butt,” observed Nwodim, on her feet by this point tearing at her meat puck. Pascal laughed and laughed, along with Yang, the other hero of the night.

During the cast goodbyes, Pascal, wearing a t-shirt in honor of Chile, thanked the cast and crew for “the best night of my life!” And the thing is, you trusted that Daddy was telling the truth. 

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