As is often the case with Saturday Night Live, the true gems of the sketch comedy show come late in the program where they let the weird stuff live. Season 45’s premiere episode hit the important stuff upfront: Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry was mentioned in a number of different segments, but they were more about covering the bases than getting off some jokes.
Once Weekend Update wrapped up, though, the odd stuff gets to shine. And that’s exactly what happened with a sketch about two sisters operating a pick-your-own-apples orchard with the help of a very odd Woody Harrelson.
Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon played sisters who owned and operated Chickham’s Apple Orchard, which looked quaint and charming and soon revealed all the annoying things about apple picking. The sketch is a bit New York-centric — McKinnon’s sister says it’s “located in the part of New York State that has Confederate flags.”
It was all extremely Western/Upstate New York, but there were some really great lines in the segment that highlighted how the experience of being a day laborer may be charming fall fun but is wildly inefficient and expensive.
“For just 45 dollars you can get 10 dollars’ worth of apples,” McKinnon deadpanned. Bryant was also great here, too.
“What our apples lack in flavor they make up for in on the ground,” she said, getting a huge laugh as the cameras showed file footage of broken apples under an apple tree.
The sisters then introduced the other worker at Chickham’s, played by the episode’s host. Harrelson has always been funniest when he’s a foil for comedy, not the one doing it all on his own. It’s perhaps why his opening monologue was a bit unsteady on Saturday Night Live as he was at the helm for the start of Season 45 of the show. But he found his bearings and was key to the funniest sketch of the night.
Bryant and McKinnon broke later in the bit — Bryant for the second time of the night — which is unfortunate because the rest of the ad was gold. In their defense, though, they were setting up the funniest line of the night about a petting zoo.
“We found some animals and now they’re in prison!” said Harrelson’s drifter, who apparently came with the land. Despite the hiccup in the middle part of the sketch, it went down as the funniest segment of the night for sure. Not every late-episode sketches are hits, but it will be hard to look at petting zoos the same way after this one. And presidential politics aside, it was the biggest hit of the episode.