This weekend will mark Bobby Moynihan’s last episode of “Saturday Night Live” as a cast member. Moynihan’s been an “SNL” staple for nine seasons, the perfect Weekend Update secret weapon and a valuable part of the show’s ensemble.
But while some remembrances will focus on his Drunk Uncle character or second-hand news correspondent Anthony Crispino, there’s one particular sketch that deserves some recognition on Moynihan’s farewell tour.
“Best Buy Firing” first aired in 2013, nestled in amongst the Thanksgiving episode from Season 39 of “SNL.” It was the third appearance of Dana (Cecily Strong) and Niff (Moynihan), the pair of employees who roast their outgoing co-workers when they sense that they’re about to be fired. First from McDonald’s and then from Barnes and Noble, the formula reached its apex with the final installment as the pair burned everyone else on the Best Buy employee list.
It’s the happy medium between legitimate mean-spiritedness and playful ribbing, the perfect jumping-off point for Moynihan and partner-in-roasting Cecily Strong. This is a four and a half minute long alley-oop session, a sketch that doesn’t work without some quality teamwork.
But it’s Moynihan who gets in the best dunks. He even gets Hutcherson to go full Fallon, not even beginning to try to hold it together as the two destroy everyone else in the room.
Here are a short list of other reasons why this sketch is his best:
- The phrase “We going out on top like ‘Breaking Bad!’” is the best opener of the three (and may have been heard once or twice around my apartment in the years since).
- “The Geek Squad?? More like….The Geek Squad!!” is a joke that does not work at all if not for a) the perfect amount of time that Moynihan gives that pause and b) the tiny little head pullback.
- Bless his heart, Bobby Moynihan is not a tenor. But he goes for those “Three Blind Mice” high notes like he’s scaling Kilimanjaro. Even if he has to squint a little to scratch the bottom end of those lines, he plows through like a semi-truck.
- Niff, as a character, is a horrible human being. So it’s a testament to Moynihan’s natural charisma he can still be something less than monstrous while digging into a line like “Oh, that’s that trash pile Beth.”
- Sketches like these that also involve some sort of well-timed prop are always tricky. But with the Edward Scissorhands joke towards the end, even as he sprinkles, he still manages to project like he’s singing to the back row.
- The Mandrew setup is an ideal piece of “SNL” joke setup (bizarre name, emphasized volley and a well-cast cutaway shot), but what really puts it over the top is the way that Moynihan puts an extra little icing on the word “freshly.”
From the early indications of “Me, Myself and I,” the new CBS dramedy that Moynihan will headline in the fall, he’ll get a chance to indulge his softer, more sincere side. But it’s nice to know that if “SNL” — or any other show/movie — wants to give him a chance to unleash his inner insult comic, this sketch is the perfect highlight reel.