Earlier this week, Saturday Night Live released a wonderfully unexpected teaser for this weekend’s episode. Two things about it come to mind immediately: first, it was done in the style of a 90s skateboarding video, complete with fisheye lens; and second, it starred this week’s host, Brendan Gleeson — not someone you’d expect to see channel their inner Tony Hawk.
Gleeson brings a lot of the same qualities to the show that Willem Dafoe did last season — he might not be the zeitgeist-y choice, but he is incredibly versatile. (And, if his monologue is any indication, he also has charm to spare.) And in a sketch that paired Gleeson with Please Don’t Destroy, Gleeson’s range elevated the material in weird and compelling ways.
The premise of the sketch is simple: four friends at a party think about how great their senior year in high school is about to be, apparently unaware that one of them is ever-so-slightly older than the rest. To an extent, it’s a spin on the “how do you do, fellow kids?” scene from 30 Rock. But Gleeson also manages to make the gist of his character — an aging Irishman who decided it might be fun to go back to high school — oddly believable.
There are also some memorable small details in there as well — Gleeson’s character’s choice of school lunch and the line “You’re from New Jersey — your name is Tommy ‘Porkchop’ Puggiano” in particular. But Gleeson’s willingness to play realism in the midst of the absurd ends up making the whole thing that much funnier.
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