The only reason I’m giving this sketch special consideration is because I cannot remember the last time I felt this uncomfortable while watching a ‘SNL’ sketch while also laughing as many times as I did at details like the out-of-place, perfect '90s-style guitar riffs and non sequitur cutaways to people whitewater rafting or lions.
I mean, this is a sketch in which Beck Bennett sexually assaults Andrew Garfield – yet, it’s delivered in the guise of a ‘90s-era Saturday morning live-action sitcom. The moral cues from that era – the “ohhhhs” and “ahhhhhs” and applauding when a character does the “right thing” – are dead-on perfect. But, what makes it so uncomfortable, is that in the actual television shows of that era, these cues were saved for, say, worrying about a prom date or, if it got really serious, an addiction to caffeine pills.
What Bennett and Mooney do here is take a very serious situation and put it into that world, and I honestly don’t know how I’m supposed to react – which, immediately makes this one of the most interesting things that would have aired on ‘SNL’ this season.
The concept is that there’s only one chicken wing left to eat and Andrew Garfield’s character would like to eat that chicken wing. Beck Bennett – playing a character named Dylan – will allow Garfield to have that chicken wing, but, in exchange, he begins to sexually assault Garfield, all while making overly exaggerated ‘90s style confrontation faces like this…
…then eventually shaming Garfield with carrots. Kyle Mooney plays the real friend who tells Andrew Garfield to call the cops, yet Garfield refuses.
Honestly, while typing this out, I can’t believe this is a ‘SNL’ comedy sketch. But, again, all of this is presented in such a hyperactive, laugh-track infested, guitar riff-fueled world of mid-90s television that even such an unfunny subject matter becomes strangely sanitized – and I suspect that’s part of the point here.
It’s hard for me to believe that ‘Wing’ was cut purely for time. The last sketch that aired on the live broadcast was ‘Bird Bible,’ a previously aired sketch from earlier this season. (Though, ‘Wing’ is about a minute and a half longer than ‘Bird Bible,’ which could be a factor.) Not to even mention that the much less interesting ‘Stanx’ – a long fart joke – made it to air. The fact that ‘Wing’ showed up online proves that ‘SNL’ is never going to re-appropriate it for another show. (Often, when a sketch is cut from dress rehearsal, it won’t wind up online because the show might still want to use that same sketch with a different host down the line. ‘Wing’ showed up on Hulu bright and early on Sunday morning.)
I would be curious to know how it played at dress. Another problem could be the real audience’s reaction versus the sketch’s built in audience reaction. Regardless, one of the most bizarre sketches of the season never made it to air.
Mike Ryan is the senior editor of ScreenCrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.