Dan Levy Brought Schitt’s Creek Magic to SNL

You know how you had those friends who weren’t into Schitt’s Creek because they’d tried a few early episodes and maybe they didn’t like the whole rich people gone poor conceit, or because the Mutt character dragged—and you were like, Stick with it, each season is better than the last, soon you’ll like it and then you’ll love it and then it’ll become your best friend that gets you through a pandemic low point? That’s kind of how Dan Levy’s SNL episode hit. It was okay.

The cold open tried to do a lot, getting in digs at Armie Hammer, chicken wings, the NFL’s COVID positivity rates, and woke commercials. I loved the Budweiser Clydesdale kicking a vaccine needle into an old lady’s arm. But by the time Aidy Bryant showed up to play both rival coaches—a terrific conceit and marvelous task for the makeup team—it felt time to get this show on the road already, and fell a little flat.

Enter Dan Levy, bounding down the stage in a divine black glittering suit. And… he gave a perfectly fine monologue. He’s such sincere and winning company that even if the material ended up being just mediocre, hearing him perform it was time well spent. Even so: his COVID-deflated backstage tour dragged. Trapping his father, Eugene Levy, in an isolation box—his punishment for risking contagion by traveling to see his son host—seemed like squandering an opportunity.

During the sketch about a Universal Studio theme ride, the audience watched in real time as Levy started loosening up. His Thoby tour guide in training was jacked up on coffee, and couldn’t stop blurting out his vulgar jokes in relation to movies. “Welcome to Jurassic Park! What do you call a lesbian dinosaur? Lickalotapus” is a sound joke no matter who’s telling it. But Levy was clearly starting to relish the absurdity of the material, and his delivery became increasingly extravagant and assured.

Then the Zillow short cracked open the night like the Moira Rose winery commercial did for his series. Hey, folks in their late 30s (give or take a decade): you’re burnt. And if you’re not on Zillow, you know you’re on VRBO, and you also know you ain’t going anywhere. “Real estate is your sex now,” Heidi Gardner purred in her satin negligee, “and our listings are just standing by waiting for you to browse them.” Alex Moffatt’s happy ending was the promise of mature landscaping. Hot couple Levy and Bowen Yang–a couple I would stan in real life–gasped over a guesthouse kitchen.

And then, my God, Phoebe Bridgers. I’m old. I have kids, and they like to listen to Kane Brown in the car. She was a revelation to me singing “Kyoto.” Her skeleton suit was so dear, and her face so full of light, and her voice of yearning and poetry. What a love. What a rock star!

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