On “SNL,” A Game Show Reveals the Pandemic’s Effect on Our Brains

This one was very relatable

SNL game show
This weekend's "SNL" offered a new spin on game shows.

Saturday Night Live has a storied tradition of using game shows as a gateway to comic gold. Whether it’s Will Ferrell’s take on Alex Trebek growing exasperated on Celebrity Jeopardy! or more recent stints by the likes of Bill Hader and Kenan Thompson as the hosts for an array of increasingly bizarre game shows, the results have often been hilarious.

This weekend’s SNL offered a pandemic-themed riff on the form. The premise here is simple: three contestants — played by Jerrod Carmichael, Sarah Sherman and Bowen Yang — fielded questions from Kate McKinnon’s host about things they knew before the pandemic to test the effects of the last two years on their brains.

As McKinnon phrased it, Is My Brain Okay? is “the game we all play every day.”

The painfully relatable concept worked well, as did the fact that Carmichael, Sherman and Yang all found distinctive ways to illustrate their characters’ confusion. McKinnon’s host also got in on the action, making for an inspired stretch in the middle of the sketch.

It’s not the first time SNL has used a game show to riff on social mores, but this one felt particularly incisive. Come for the wheelbarrow jokes, stay for the incisive punchlines.

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