Last week, comedian Ian Abramson casually declared that, with Saturday Night Live currently on hold, he would take it upon himself to bring late-night joy to a quarantined culture. Last night, he lived up to his promise, taking to Twitch to livestream a wild, sweaty night of offbeat comedy from his mom’s house.
Abramson’s broadcast hit a number of the traditional SNL beats, from an opening in which he played grotesque versions of Anderson Cooper and Donald Trump to a Weekend Update detour from comedian (and The A.V. Club contributor) Tim Barnes that felt both reverent of the modern form and satirical of its often groan-worthy content. A number of his comedian pals also got a chance to share their own pre-taped sketches.
Abramson also offered up some deranged, homespun spins on classic SNL characters like Mr. Bill, Toonces the Driving Cat, and Chris Farley’s Matt Foley, who, in this iteration, is called Can Of Beans Man (we think?). Throughout, technical mishaps, chaotic frames, rushed costume changes, and awkward fumbles became bits in themselves.
Only those who caught it live can claim to have seen the chaos in its purest, most unfiltered form, but you can catch a slew of clips from the evening on Twitch, watch some pre-taped versions of them here, and seek out some of the individual digital shorts online.
Below, we’ve shared a handful of our favorite “sketches,” which you can watch in anticipation of next week’s stream—Abramson has confirmed both online and to The A.V. Club that he is “absolutely 100%” returning. What he’s going to do about the patch of hair he sheared off at the end of last night’s stream, however, is anyone’s guess.
Comedians Lily Sullivan and Tim Baltz, the latter you may recognize from The Righteous Gemstones, took inspiration from Ben Affleck’s surprisingly good The Way Back for their sketch. The brilliantly titled “That’s A Swish,” which comes “from the director of Dribble,” is about, what else, a drunk white guy who learns how to stop drinking in the shower while wearing sunglasses and start finding salvation in coaching a group of misfits. “When you feel like a champion,” he states, “that’s a swish.”
We all loved Toonces the Driving Cat on SNL, but the feline’s seen better days. As Abramson cradles his own family cat while wearing a holed-up green suit that most assuredly doesn’t function as intended, Toonces explains how he’s two weeks sober after getting a DUI. “Turns out the world’s a lot brighter when you’re not getting hammered, stealing the family car, and driving it around as a cat,” says Toonces, who also reveals that his father, Steve Martin, has disowned him. Above is Abramson’s pre-recorded version of the sketch; live, the kitty wriggled from his arms and sauntered away, sending the sketch into even greater disarray.
SNL’s political comedy has been, how you say, lacking since Donald Trump took office, and Abrams’ cold open nailed the format—a sit-down with CNN’s Anderson Cooper—and satirized both Alec Baldwin’s shitty impression and the general Orange Man Bad angle intrinsic to it. “Chester Cheeto was my father,” he sneers as Trump. “He gave birth to me and I was covered in Cheeto dust.” (Again, this is a pre-recorded version, though some clips from the livestream can be found on Twitch.)
We already highlighted this hilarious Love Is Blind parody from Nick Ciarelli, Brad Evans, Drew Tarver, and Carl Tart, but, considering it aired as one of the night’s sketches, we’re using this opportunity to share it again. Ciarelli’s crack about being a “journalist for Verizon” cuts to the damn bone.
The soft, inviting animation. The deadpan deliveries. The pronunciation of “Squirt.” The presence of a naked, feral Joe Biden. All of it coalesces into a strange, oddly charming sketch that I could not stop giggling through for its entire runtime.
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