As America’s most time-honored sketch comedy institution, it should come as no surprise that the influence of Saturday Night Live has expanded to other countries. Alternate versions of SNL individually serve Japan, Spain, Germany, Finland, and the Middle East/North Africa area, but perhaps the strangest offspring of all resides in South Korea. It’s not that Korea’s style of comedy would be so alien to domestic viewers, in fact, quite the opposite; the most off-putting experience of all is to be one small step away from recognizing the sketches onscreen, even when the language barrier renders them unfamiliar.
As if this program wasn’t already uncanny enough, Chloe Grace Moretz dropped by this weekend as the show’s first-ever American guest star to add another dose of weirdness, as PopCrush noted. While in South Korea promoting a video game called Sudden Attack, the actress took advantage of her overseas fame to do a little side work. Her presence on the show is bizarre, but she’s got a solid handle on Korean, and looks as if she understands what she’s doing. (It’s a stark contrast from, say, Bill Murray’s character in Lost in Translation, at-sea and baffled while shooting a Japanese whiskey commercial.) The core concept of the sketch even plays to the incongruity of seeing Moretz on the program, casting her as a local boy’s American girlfriend, one who has a Westerner’s skewed view of South Korean culture. Everyone’s dressed pretty casually while she wears a traditional hanbok, and she reacts to every utterance with exaggeration learned from the nation’s thriving soap-opera output. And no matter what language you speak, watching Chloe Grace Moretz slap a guy in the face with a handful of kimchi plays. Cabbage-based slapstick: the universal language!