The Amazonian creature from “The Shape of Water” had a difficult decade after he and Sally Hawkins sought their happily-ever-after in a Baltimore canal — at least according to the collective imagination of the “Saturday Night Live” writing staff. A cut-for-time taped sketch from this weekend’s John Mulaney-hosted episode follows the downward career trajectory of amphibious actor Fish Man (Kyle Mooney), star of Guillermo del Toro’s recent Best Picture Oscar winner. The character was actually played by six-time del Toro collaborator Doug Jones, who answered to the onset nickname “Charlie Tuna.”
“Fish Dreams” opens in agent (Beck Bennett)’s office, where Fish Man passes up a part in Martin Scorsese’s ocean-set “Goodfellas” remake (“Fishfellas”), eager to stock his just-leased gallery space with his original photographs. At Fish Man’s art opening, his pal and fellow gilled actor, Roger (Mulaney) gets his permission to pursue the role instead. “Fishfellas” becomes the highest-grossing movie of all time, while Fish Man, unable to pay his rent, takes up residence on a sidewalk.
Eight years after the film’s release, now-celebrity Roger almost steps on his former friend during a stroll with husband Adam Driver (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” playing himself) and their mixed-species son, Crispy. After deriding Fish Man’s art in the past, Roger rescues Fish Man from poverty with both a commission and a Broadway role.
Mulaney, a writer on the sketch comedy series for six seasons, was back to promote his upcoming fourth stand-up special, Netflix’s “John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City.” Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller re-enacted their most famous scene from “Meet the Parents” in the episode’s political cold open. The show will return on May 5, with another recruit from the galaxy far, far away — Donald Glover (Cannes-bound “Solo: A Star Wars Story”) — as host and musical guest.
Watch “Fish Dreams” below.