The rest of the episode wasn’t one of the best of the season, but this is one of those cases where the playfulness of the host (not to mention some hilarious impromptu breaking of character) made for some hearty laughter throughout the night. This is the kind of thing that can be frustrating if it’s done too often, or if it breaks the flow of a sketch. But Pascal’s natural charm and dedication to the sketches kept it from being an annoying occurrence, despite how often it happened.
Waking Up – Close behind the pre-recorded “Mario Kart” sketch was this live bit featuring Pascal coming out of a coma after an accident laid him up in the hospital. But when Pascal comes out of the coma, he doesn’t recognize anybody, and he’s speaking with some kind of “LA mush-mouth” inflection in his speech. Pascal’s voice is absolutely hilarious in this sketch, from the way he reacts to seeing himself in phone videos to reading the flashcards provided by Dr. Jim, this was one of the sketches where it was clear the actor was having so much fun being silly. Of course, towards the end, Pascal started to break a bit when he couldn’t deliver a series of lines with a straight face. Even Heidi Gardner showed signs of laughing, especially when she had to put on the mush-mouth dialect. This was funny as a sketch, and it had the added bonus of some amusing character breaks.
Wing Pit – “SNL” has delivered countless commercial parodies over the years, and one of the staples is the super intense commercial that gets increasingly absurd. Taking a cue from Super Bowl-inspired food advertisements for wings, this faux commercial for the Wing Pit takes a twisted, sacrificial turn as the orders of wings and hot sauce getting even more gigantic and terrifying. The fear and confusion from the sports fans makes for some amusing juxtaposition, but it’s the reveal of Chirax the Chicken God of Death that seals the deal here. Let us honor him.
Protective Mom – This is a sketch that general audiences may not appreciate beyond Pedro Pascal appearing in motherly drag with too much blush and clearly visible facial stubble. But for anyone with Hispanic heritage like Pascal (who is Chilean American), this will hit very close to home in a charming way. The use of untranslated Spanish with English words between Pascal and Marcello Hernandez sprinkled in is funny for the sketch itself, but the attitude of Marcello’s mother and the manner with which she responds to the proceedings is truly a Hispanic thing. The sketch itself wasn’t exactly laugh out loud funny, but it was rather delightful.
Italian Waiters – Not every sketch can be a winner, and this was certainly one of the duds this evening. Normally, Sarah Sherman knows how to sell a sketch like this, but something was off about her performance here. It felt like Sherman was hamming it up too much for her part of the bit, and that’s before we get to the abysmal ending. More often than not, when a sketch turns into a surprise commercial in the last few seconds, it’s a piss poor ending to a sub par or average sketch. This is one of those instances, and the closing moment before that just didn’t make sense either. No thanks!