Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy in 'Please Don't Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain'

The Guys Behind ‘Please Don’t Destroy’ Made a Movie, and You Can Stream It This Week

If you’ve watched Saturday Night Live in the past few years, you’re likely familiar with a trio of comedians who call themselves Please Don’t Destroy. Comprised of Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy, the group met in college, and they’ve been making comedy gold ever since. Now, they’ve made their first movie, Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain—and you can watch it this week!

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Who are Please Don’t Destroy?

Please Don’t Destroy is a comedy group that started in 2017, the year all three members graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of Arts. Their partnership is loosely based on their real-life friendship, and their humor leans heavily toward the absurd and irreverent. While performing monthly comedy shows and appearing at festivals in and around New York City, the group started uploading short videos of their sketches to YouTube. They expanded to TikTok and Twitter during the height of COVID-19, giving everyone something to laugh at while we were trapped inside our houses.

In 2021, Please Don’t Destroy were hired by SNL to write short, prerecorded videos in the same vein as The Lonely Island. While landing this gig is no doubt a huge accomplishment for such young creative talents, there is a bit of a “nepo-baby” twist.

They have strong ties to SNL from way back

Martin Herlihy’s father is Tim Herlihy, who was the show’s head writer and who penned classic SNL cast-led movies like Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, and more. Not coincidentally, he was also Adam Sandler’s roommate during their own NYU days. Meanwhile, John Higgins’ father has served as a writer, announcer, and producer for SNL since the ‘90s.

Like many stars who had a leg up thanks to their extensive connections, Please Don’t Destroy hopes their work stands on its own merit. In an interview with The Wrap, Herlihy said, “I hope the work is good enough and what we’re doing is fresh enough that there’s a place for it. But, you know, obviously we acknowledge that beyond even connections or whatever, we have crazy privilege of being three straight white guys from NYU.”

SNL veteran Paul Briganti rounds out the crew as director. In in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Briganti said the closeness of the PDD gang defines the film. “They have this group chemistry that feeds off each other,” Briganti said. “They’re so happy when they’re together. That is sort of the core and the warmth of the movie.”

It always helps to know Judd Apatow

Apatow is a producer of the PDD movie. He first became aware of the trio when his manager, Jimmy Miller, signed on to represent them. Speaking to Brooklyn Magazine, Apatow said he’d seen their SNL sketches and knew they were working on a movie, but wasn’t sure they would be a big enough hit to warrant a feature film. Then, the PDD sketches, spurred on by celebrity guest host appearances from the likes of Pete Davidson and Taylor Swift, started going viral regularly.

“They were developing the script for a little while and they got on SNL,” he said. “It’s a real battle to get screen time and sometimes it takes years to get on, but they got on instantly and had these giant comedy shorts that went viral. Suddenly it was a real possibility that we could make this movie.”

The fact that Apatow has worked with Herlihy and Higgins’ fathers also obviously helped. In fact, Apatow said it felt oddly familiar shooting The Treasure of Foggy Mountain.

“We would be out in the woods, kicking around ideas for a weird scene, and I would remember having similar conversations decades ago with Tim Herlihy on Happy Gilmore,” he told Brooklyn Mag.

What is Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain about?

The first PDD movie stars Marshall, Higgins, and Herlihy playing variations of themselves who’ve been friends since childhood. As adults, they find themselves working a dead-end job at a sporting goods store run by Marshall’s dad, played by none other than Conan O’Brien. Incredibly, this is the first feature film O’Brien has ever played a character in!

In the trailer, we see O’Brien dressing down his immature son and his friends, leading them to abandon their lives in search of a gold treasure said to be buried in a local (foggy) mountain. Armed with a treasure map, they set off on a madcap adventure, encountering hilarious characters (both human and animal) along the way.

Who else is in the first PDD movie?

Fellow SNL cast member Bowen Yang stars as a purple-loving cult leader, while Meg Stalter and X Mayo are park rangers on a mission of their own. John Goodman is the narrator.

“The ginger looked like a colonial ghost. Glasses looked like Tim Burton drew him, and then there’s the short one; we probably wear the same size bra!” X Mayo exclaims in the trailer.

We’re already laughing!

Please Don’t Destroy: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain will be released on Peacock on November 17, 2023.

(featured image: Peacock / Universal Studios)

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Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She writes about pop culture, entertainment, and web memes, and has published a book or a funny day-to-day desk calendar about web humor every year for a decade. When not writing, she's listening to audiobooks or watching streaming movies under a pile of her very loved (spoiled) pets.