Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
John Mulaney, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson
John Mulaney, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson
Screenshot: Saturday Night Live

One of the guaranteed pleasures of former SNL writer John Mulaney coming back to host Saturday Night Live is that, well, the writing’s going to be better. Another is that we’re going to get another sketch proving just what a New York-based writer with a suitcase full of petty grudges, a headful of Broadway tunes, an unlimited supply of funny friends, and a backstage packed with rat costumes will come up with when Lorne Michaels tells him to do whatever the hell he wants. The first such resulting sketch was the all-time SNL musical weirdo classic paean to the one diner dish you never, ever want to order. The second lavishly examined the reasons why, no matter the bodily emergency, you shouldn’t stop by the nearest bodega to use the facilities. And now, on last night’s third Mulaney-hosted episode, we saw the over-the-top musical-theater takedown of, um, that one dish you should never, ever buy at the LaGuardia Airport terminal convenience store.

Clearly inspired, like its predecessors, by some perhaps apocryphal tale of New York convenience living going horribly, horribly awry, “Airport Sushi” sees, once more, unwise New Yorker Pete Davidson shocking pal Chris Redd and seen-it-all proprietor Mulaney by offhandedly choosing to purchase the plastic-boxed container of something claiming to be a spicy tuna roll. At a convenience store. Inside LaGuardia Airport. Once more, Davidson’s foolhardy decision opens the gates to a hilariously overblown Broadway-style litany of musical grievances, not just concerning the “dated 2018" raw fish, but also New York’s second-best (by, as the sketch professes, a long, stinky margin) airport in toto.

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Kenan Thompson once more stole the show, here crooning as a plane-grounding, masked goose liltingly announcing himself as the Phantom of the Bathroom. Cecily Strong’s sushi chef sings a lament about the “great mistake” Davidson’s making in eating fish that may or may not have emerged crawling from a New York hole of some description. And then there’s Kate McKinnon’s (Auntie) Orphan Annie, taking time out from her pretzel concession to blame everything on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Alex Moffat in a rat suit, and, in the sketch’s climactic absurdist touches, a couple of Mulaney’s very famous pals from a certain recent Netflix special to add to the roster of operatic complaints about life and food in an airport that takes you first to Cleveland, no matter where you’re going. So visit New York everyone! Try the seafood.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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