SNL welcomed back one of its own this weekend, and host John Mulaney delivered with arguably the best episode of the season. “Lobster Diner” was the MVP, but the cold open with Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro was strong, the monologue was nostalgic and funny, and I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Tawny Pockets. There was so much good material, in fact, that even the cut-for-time sketches are worth watching. In “Wedding Toast,” musical guest Jack White is a literal Third Man in a future ménage à trois, while “Fish Dreams” goes down a dark path: what if Fish Man from Best Picture winner The Shape of Water gave up his acting career to focus on his photography?
It does not go well. His best fish-friend Rodger (Mulaney) gets the part he was supposed to play in Fishfellas, which ends up grossing $10 billion at the box office. The Shape of Water has-been takes it hard: he ends up on the street, while Rodger, who’s voted “Happiest Fish Alive,” hosts SNL and gets married to Adam Driver. (Yes, it’s the actual Adam Driver, the star of 2017’s highest-grossing movie, playing the husband of a fish in a cut-for-time sketch.) But during a chance encounter, the two former-friends reunite and Rodger offers Fish Man a part in Fishfellas: The Musical. Because that’s what a fishfella does.
SNL should combine John Mulaney and musicals more often.