TV | October 25, 2020 6:30 am

Adele and Maya Rudolph Reinvent Denim on “SNL”

A gloriously strange sketch with an earworm of a theme

Adele
Adele hosted this week's "Saturday Night Live."
NBCUniversal

Sometimes, when it comes to sketch comedy, there is virtue in brevity. Key & Peele‘s sketch “Mr. Nostrand’s Big Mistake” might be the apex of this idea. It’s not even 90 seconds long, the bulk of which is an extended setup to a very loud, very broad gag. It hits its mark and wraps itself up concisely. It’s very easy to imagine an overlong version of this sketch, one which took its central gag and repeated it endlessly, to diminishing returns.

Saturday Night Live has let some sketches — its debate cold opens, for instance — go on for overly long running times this season. Thankfully that’s been balanced out by more concise sketches as well. And on last night’s episode, that reached an apex (of a kind) with a commercial for a very distinctive brand of jeans.

Sometimes Saturday Night Live is topical, sometimes it’s slapstick and sometimes it’s subtle. Some of the most rewarding sketches, though, are when the show gets flat-out weird, and this commercial — set at an unspecified time in the 80s and featuring Adele and Maya Rudolph as friends touting the benefits of Ass Angel Jeans — is magnificently, gloriously strange.

The list of side effects from Ass Angel Jeans position this sketch as a descendent of Happy Fun Ball, which is never a bad thing. And the point at which Beck Bennett showed up as a mulletted crooner clad in a Canadian tuxedo was where this sketch crossed the line from strange to sublime. And at 2 minutes and 30 seconds in length, it didn’t wear out its welcome.

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