Brilliantly Absurd SNL Sketch Parodies Les Misérables—With a Cast of Lobsters
Deadpan comedian John Mulaney hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend, and he led a Les Misérables parody set in a very unexpected place: a Greek diner.
You might say that I’m a bit of a Les Mis fan, so this sketch was sure to please me—but it seems to be going over well overall, with HuffPo calling it the Mulaney-hosted show’s “best” and “wonderful.” (Vanity Fair called it “insane.”) Mulaney was returning to his old stomping grounds—he served as a writer on SNL for six seasons—and he revealed that he’d actually written the “Diner Lobster” sketch back in 2010 with Weekend Update’s Colin Jost. We’re glad that it finally saw the light of day.
The main joke here, if you’ve never been to a Greek diner, is that their menus are massive. They often have hugely expansive choices, and it’s an unspoken rule that there’s just some things that you don’t order—like lobster, especially from a place that tends to specialize in pancakes and grilled cheese. But in the sketch above, one patron wants to challenge the diner and call their bluff. So he orders the lobster and won’t be dissuaded.
“Did you just order lobster in a diner?” his friend asks in shock and horror. “No one orders lobster in a diner. The whole seafood section is there as a joke. The word ‘seafood’ is in quotes.”
Then Kenan Thompson is wheeled out in a tank as an old lobster, “Lobster No. 1,” who is dressed as Jean Valjean, the protagonist of LesMisérables. Joining him will be Kate McKinnon as his daughter, “Clawsette,” the waiters manning the barricades, and a singing cast. Some of the actors almost straight-up lose it to laughter a few times.
“Who am I,” Thompson the lobster starts off singing, in the refrain of the famous Les Mis song of the same name, “why am I condemned to boil alive, when all I’ve done is live my life?”
It only gets wackier and more musically inclined from there—working through parodies of “Castle on a Cloud” and “Do You Hear the People Sing?”. Bless this perfectly absurd little sketch and whoever created those lobster costumes. This couldn’t have an easy sketch to pitch, but no one can say it isn’t inspired.
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