Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

SNL's tough guys aren't crying over "Driver's License," you are

Regé-Jean Page, Beck Bennett, Alex Moffat, Mikey Day, Pete Davidson, Kenan Thompson, Bowen Yang
Regé-Jean Page, Beck Bennett, Alex Moffat, Mikey Day, Pete Davidson, Kenan Thompson, Bowen Yang
Screenshot: Saturday Night Live

On last night’s Regé-Jean Page-hosted—and darn funSaturday Night Live, one sketch opened on a barroom’s-worth of burly, pool-playing tough guys. Led by Page and Beck Bennet’s alphas, Mikey Day, Bowen Yang, Alex Moffat, Kenan Thompson, and Pete Davidson all did what guys do, drinking beers, making boasts and bets, busting balls, and basically being bros. That there was a jukebox in the corner could not possibly make any difference, not even when Page put on his unlikely billiards psych-up anthem, Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License,” and—nope, here come the waterworks.

Not all at once, naturally, as Bennett and his crew first feigned ignorance of the sweet and heartbreaking musical lament of a young girl whose first legal drive is salted with her tears over her ex-boyfriend’s broken promise to be with her on the big day. “It’s bittersweet because it’s something she and her ex always talked about,” shrugged Bennett, adding hastily, “That’s what I guess hearing it for the first time right now.” Moffat, chalking up his cue, offers up that his insight that the song is about the former High School Musical (the series, duh) star’s breakup with costar Joshua Bassett, who’s now supposedly dating actress Sabrina Carpenter—at least that’s what he thinks he heard on the news.

It goes on in that delightfully silly fashion, as Page’s unabashed adoration of Rodrigo’s hit gradually infects everyone with teary-eyed singalong fever. At least after they hash out all the Taylor Swift-Billie Eilish comparisons. Whether you agree with Page’s vehement assertion that Taylor only got “in the pocket creatively” once “she shifted away from the autobiographical,” you’d better not step to, as these guys reveal themselves as more than willing to throw down over subtle singer-songwriter rankings and analyses. Indeed, Page and Davidson are so at loggerheads that they almost come to blows. (“Well, I still feel it’s Taylor, you got a problem?” “With you being purposefully reductive? Yeah, I got a problem!”) Luckily, cooler, more harmonious heads prevail, as the song’s chorus (“the bridge of our lives!,” asserts Kate McKinnon’s mustachioed older barfly) unites everyone in unashamedly weepy awe. Just keep driving past that house, you guys. Eyes on the road.

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

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