The cool kids at Saturday Night Live apparently find high school just hilarious. Awkward teens have been a staple of the show for its entire four-decade history, going right back to Gilda Radner’s Lisa Loopner.
There were several teen- or school-themed sketches on this past Saturday’s show. Best of the lot was the Woodbridge High School Experimental Theater Showcase production of the ensemble-devised Whispers of America. And the best part of that sketch was the inserting of parental reactions to the students’ earnest, issue-laden black-box theatrics.
“You know, this is my first time seeing a play, and I think I’m done,” one of the parents (Vanessa Bayer, accomplished at perky housewife characters) moans.
Kenan Thompson, whose main purpose on SNL is to stare agog at the ridiculous carryings-on of his castmates, gets the best lines in the sketch, continually critiquing Whispers of America’s set design.
Not to get all humor-analytical, but Thompson’s presence also adds an extra level of humor for those of us who regularly attend school-based shows. This one announces that it’s taking place “on this gorgeous Tuesday at 2 p.m.” And this may be the rub: there’s a sizeable disconnect between the sort of theater high schoolers want to do and the only audiences (parents and siblings) who’re likely to attend these shows.
There’s certainly humor to mined in that. Also, as the students in this sketch might intone plaintively, “Truth!”