This Saturday, Will Ferrell will be back at his old SNL stomping grounds, where he’ll host the sketch comedy show for the fifth time since his days as a cast member ended. King Princess will perform as the musical guest.
Today, SNL released a promo for the upcoming show, which features Ferrell and Beck Bennett. In it, Bennett happens upon Ferrell at the Studio 8H stage, where Will digs up cash he’d buried years ago in the hopes that its value would spike.
A bit like this is a good reminder that sketch comedy is very hit and miss—you can decide which of the two this one is for yourself. It’s also in line with the vast majority of contemporary SNL material, which sees an “out there” character engaging with a “straight” character. The latter’s purpose is simply to react to the off-kilter nonsense spoken by the former, indicating to the audience when humor is afoot. Now, the show has a long history of putting over-the-top characters on full display, but this formula, where a lone weirdo finds himself/herself in an uncomfortable circumstance with a group of ordinary individuals, has become the norm. It’s as if the writers don’t trust the audience to comprehend clever, more subtle jokes.
You can check out the promo below. And yesterday, SNL released a highlight reel featuring what it considers Ferrell’s best moments (also seen below). Unfortunately there’s no “Doctor’s Office,” “Dysfunctional Family Dinner,” or “Bill Brasky” to be found. But the clips might make you miss the star in his glory years, and some of the show’s former cast members. He and Rachel Dratch as eloquent professors engaged in sensual hot tub banter with unwilling participants is sorely missed.