Three-time “Saturday Night Live” host Jon Hamm returned to late-night sketch comedy this weekend, appearing in the premiere of HBO’s “Random Acts of Flyness.” Terence Nance — the show’s creator, writer, director, executive producer, host, and co-star, — recruited Hamm to play multiple roles in a seven-minute sketch called “White Thoughts.” What starts as a familiar-seeming informercial parody morphs into something more like a short film, jumping to an exchange between the pitchman and the spot’s director, then Nance himself as he wrestles with what he wants the sketch to say about race.
In “White Thoughts,” Hamm — an Emmy winner for portraying “Mad Men” master salesman Don Draper, and the inspiration for one of the best “SNL” faux informercials ever, “Jon Hamm’s John Ham” — shills a skincare product called “White Be Gone.” When applied to the temples, the black goop eradicates concepts commonly held by privileged people, such as “I’m not racist” and quick fixes for how minorities can make their lives easier.
The clip includes a quick digression from “Sorry to Bother You” lead Lakeith Stanfield, who is plugging “Lazercism,” a procedure that allows patients to zap away their “racial glaucoma.” At the end, in an editing bay, Nance (as himself) accepts a friend’s critique that his time would be better spent “addressing whiteness less” and “affirming blackness more.”
The six-episode debut season of “Random Acts of Flyness” continues Fridays through September 8. Watch the clip below.