Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Chadwick Boseman, upcoming fourth-timer Paul Rudd — seems like nearly every major “Avengers” star has hosted “Saturday Night Live” at some point. But whither Thanos? Yes, Josh Brolin, in his non-purple state, has hosted the show twice, but why shouldn’t the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most powerful supervillain get a chance to take over Studio 8H?
To dig into this question, editor and comedian Dominick Nero created a spec script for “Saturday Night Live” to address this issue — and also poke a little fun at the familiar rhythms of the long-running sketch series. Not every sketch is a winner (just like on regular “Saturday Night Live”) but it’s a fun read for anyone trying to avoid “Endgame” spoilers, one which invokes memories of classic viral specs like Billy Domineau’s “‘Seinfeld’ does 9/11” script.
what would it be like if Thanos hosted Saturday Night Live? this question haunts my every waking moment. since Endgame is out this week, i finally tried to answer that question. heres my spec script, an entire episode of SNL hosted by Thanos. please enjoy, https://t.co/yQl65xJgsw pic.twitter.com/XaBGL3H2JY
— dom nero (@dominicknero) April 22, 2019
The script isn’t a mere toss-off of an idea — Nero’s take includes a Trump cold open featuring Alec Baldwin’s current impression, an “Infinity War”-themed monologue bit, four additional pre-taped and live sketches, and the “tragic” vanishing of “Weekend Update” hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che. Also, Hoobastank is the musical guest, which for some reason fits perfectly.
One detail that really works: As Tina Fey revealed in her memoir “Bossypants,” an “SNL” script will use the names of the actors, not the characters being created. While not necessarily an industry-standard approach, it makes this spec work really well for those familiar with the current cast — it’s not hard to picture Aidy Bryant and Pete Davidson really throwing themselves into the tragedy of “Dyson Infinity Vacuum Commercial.”
What’s masterful about Nero’s parody is that the moments which satirize “Saturday Night Live” tropes (such as the mugging-heavy Trump cold open, or the clearly-recurring gag character of “Ass Kevin”) are sharply observed. But he also manages to deliver some pretty clever jokes, especially the runner about in the cold open reflecting Trump’s love of Andrew Jackson. And really, “Ass Kevin” isn’t the worst idea one could come up with for a sketch. (Not when Beck Bennett’s “Office Boss Baby” is still a part of the show’s legacy.)
“Avengers: Endgame” premieres in theaters this weekend. “Saturday Night Live” returns on May 4 with Adam Sandler as host.