‘SNL’ Parodies ‘Joker’ with the Dark Origin Story of Oscar the Grouch

     October 13, 2019


If Saturday Night Live Season 45 has had one sweet spot lately, it’s making light of Joker. NBC’s hit late-night series struck gold once again on Saturday’s most recent episode with a sketch called “Grouch”, featuring host David Harbour playing the titular role of Oscar the Grouch in a trailer promising to explore the dark origins of the iconic Sesame Street character.

The entire “Grouch” sketch is framed as a trailer, the first of many smart moves for this bit. Harbour plays Oscar, a garbage man living in New York City who is so disillusioned with the amount of crime, poverty, and overall terribleness going on that he feels the need to retreat into a garbage can. Even the news — ABCDEFG News, to be exact — reports nothing but awful things. Who wouldn’t want to paint their face green and just watch it all unravel from inside a smelly tin can?

“Grouch” also makes good use of transposing the rest of the Sesame Street characters into dark human characters with equally grim lives. Snuffy (played by Keenan Thompson) is a pimp with a fuzzy red coat and tie, similar to the character’s appearance; Bert (Alex Moffat) and Ernie (Mikey Day) get into a life-and-death alleyway robbery over their precious rubber duck; Big Bird (Heidi Gardner) is a cooing stripper; and even the Count (Beck Bennett) makes sure he has the right amount of pills to pop. We must tip our caps to the writers this week because these details, among the many others, are genius.

“Grouch” is chock-full of masterful touches that it really makes for one of the freshest and funniest things churned out at SNL in a long time. The sketch actually crafts an eerily plausible dark take of Oscar the Grouch’s origins. Would I watch it? Yes. Do I need it to go into production ASAP? Double, nay, triple yes.

Curious to know more about just how well Joker is doing in theaters? Make sure to read up on Joker‘s latest box office numbersSaturday Night Live Season 45 airs every Saturday on NBC at 11:30/10:30c.