Watching Saturday Night Live go all-in on science fiction can be an entertaining experience, whether it’s Andy Samberg signing about the Space Olympics or Kate McKinnon’s memorable take on an alien abductee. All of which is to say that this week, guest host Timothée Chalamet featured prominently in a pre-taped sketch as a member of a rag-tag group of rebels in space.
That, in and of itself, wouldn’t be that strange; Chalamet is the star of Dune, after all. What is strange is the sketch’s history. You see, this is somehow — as implausibly as it might be — a sequel to a sketch featuring Chalamet the last time he hosted SNL, “Tiny Horse.”
The original sketch featured Chalamet as a young man growing up on a farm and signing a heartfelt song to his tiny horse when the two are threatened with being separated. There are some Saturday Night Live characters and sketches featuring guest hosts that lend themselves well to recurring status, with Jonah Hill’s Adam Grossman being one of the more prominent examples. “Tiny Horse” was, well, not that.
To be fair, that’s probably why this works as well as it does. It also works because it doesn’t fall victim to a problem that plagues plenty of SNL sketches, built around guest hosts or not – namely, following the same beats of the original so closely that it feels more like a remake than a follow-up. The presence of Bowen Yang as a cyborg in the sketch’s first moments pretty much guarantees that.
I’ve long been of the position that weird SNL is the best SNL. This sketch features Timothée Chalamet singing to a giant horse in the future, which certainly qualifies. If and when Chalamet makes his third appearance as host, does this mean we might see “Medium-Sized Horse”? The mind boggles.
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