In his just-as-impressive second Saturday Night Live hosting stint last night, former SNL writer and current musical theater parodist extraordinaire John Mulaney had plenty to live up to. His previous outing was easily the best episode of last season, sure, but it was “Diner Lobster” that was casting the biggest, crustacean-shaped shadow. Mercifully culled from the rejected sketch pile that accumulated during Mulaney’s six seasons toiling in the SNL writer’s room, the piece (co-written with Colin Jost) was an escalatingly absurd triumph where restaurant patron Pete Davidson’s unwise order of the establishment’s long-listed, never-served lobster dish saw Kenan Thompson emerge in a full-blown, Les Mis-inspired Broadway lament for his lonely fate.
Well, move over, “Diner Lobster”—“Bodega Bathroom” is the new king of lunatic New York musical comedy numbers. With Davidson reprising his role as the unsuspecting New Yorker whose innocent violation of one of the city’s unspoken rules opens a door to a magical but disreputable secret world, the sketch was another big, brassy, bananas journey through the peeling, filthy looking glass. Incorporating musical influences aplenty (Cats, Rent, Little Shop Of Horrors, Willy Wonka), Mulaney’s owner ushers Davidson and alarmed pal Chris Redd into a truly disgusting mold-crawling oversized bathroom set, complete with glamorous singing cockroaches, Kate McKinnon’s crooning Virgin Mary votive, and Kenan Thompson, this time leading the way as the store’s Wonka-esque bodega cat. Why all the flan? Who is that guy who doesn’t work there and yet sits around watching soccer and smoking all day? What kind of joint stocks cell phone chargers, but only for the iPhone 3? Only the bodega cat knows. Come, let him show you.