TV | November 21, 2021 6:03 am

This Week’s “SNL” Showed Karaoke at Its Most Cringeworthy

The "Islands In the Stream" bit was especially inspired

"SNL" karaoke sketch
Simu Liu and the "SNL" cast ventured into karaoke territory this week.

Under the right circumstances, karaoke can be incredibly fun. Under the wrong circumstances, it can be an absolute nightmare for all involved. Whether you’re in a bar or in a private room, there’s something singular about the experience. And sometimes, you’re left with the impression that you’re learning a lot more about complete strangers from their song choices than you might know about them otherwise.

All of which helps explain why this week’s Saturday Night Live had a fine time with karaoke in this week’s episode, via a sketch set up as a public-access cable show whose hosts (played by Kenan Thompson and Chloe Fineman) looked back over the last week’s ups and downs at Thompson’s karaoke bar.

In practice, this allowed the bulk of the cast, as well as guest host Simu Liu, to play a host of characters ranging from German tourists to finance bros to someone coming to the terrified realization that the song they’re singing is way outside their vocal range. As someone who once attempted to sing James’s “Laid” at a karaoke night, I know this feeling all too well.

Not surprisingly, the singer/song pairings get more and more cringeworthy as the sketch progresses, reaching their apex with a moment involving Ginuwine’s “Pony” — but to reveal any more would be to say too much. It feels like something of a spiritual sequel to last season’s “Drivers License” sketch — and while this doesn’t have Kate McKinnon playing an old Italian man, it does have Fineman constantly mangling the names of various pop stars. And it’s likely to make you want to venture to your nearest karaoke bar before too long.