The Quest for Airbnb “Superhost” Status Gets Weird on “SNL”

The dog painting was especially disconcerting

SNL Airbnb sketch
An Airbnb stay goes very wrong on the new "SNL."

What does it take to earn the vaunted “Superhost” status on Airbnb? And what steps would someone take in order to secure the highest possible rating from a guest in their home? That was the subject of a sketch on this week’s Saturday Night Live, which found Cecily Strong and Rami Malek playing a couple who are willing to go to virtually any length to impress the couple (Mikey Day and Melissa Villaseñor) that booked a stay at their cabin.

What does that translate to? Some very distinctive choices of artwork, for one thing. And some very over-the-top surveillance of social media, for another. Malek’s ability to play characters who are a little too intense was on display for much of the episode — and was particularly notable here. And Strong is also no stranger to playing very discomfiting intensity for maximum comic value, a talent also on display here.

The sketch has a few moments that don’t really land, including an early joke about woodworking that falls flat. But another joke — about the first name of Malek’s character — works far better by adding to the general unsettling vibe of the sketch. And for more scenes of Malek embracing a chaotic comic presence, his interaction with the Please Don’t Destroy guys has that in abundance.

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