It’s an SNL sketch premise so silly that it feels like it belongs in the early ’90s, not 2015. Taking place in the distant future, the scene asks us to believe that chickens have evolved to be more intelligent than humans and that a chicken could command a spaceship of human beings and, most importantly, that a crew member played by guest host Chris Hemsworth would fall in love with the chicken.
And it mostly works! The idea sounds reeeally dumb on on paper, but in execution, it works for two reasons. First, there’s Hemsworth’s earnest performance. By playing the scene as if he truly, madly, deeply loves his chicken commander (who is played by an actual living, breathing chicken), Hemsworth lends every joke a self-seriousness that makes it even goofier. But more importantly, the fact that the chicken is played by a live bird that doesn’t care about hitting her marks leads to the kind of unintentional comedy that you can only get from working with children or animals. When the bird refuses to cooperate, the cast is forced to work around it. Hilarity ensues.
Hemsworth himself proves to be a surprisingly adept comic improvisor in the scene, talking around the chicken’s unwillingness to acknowledge him in any way. It may be the first and last time that anyone refuses to look into the eyes of someone so handsome, and he makes the most of it.