There’s no shame in revisiting a classic, and on this week’s Saturday Night Live, host James Franco riffed on one of the show’s most iconic sketches: Dan Aykroyd’s legendary French Chef bit where, as Julia Child, he sliced a finger and merrily bled to death. Franco’s character, a gift-wrapper at Bloomingdale’s, is motivated by Christmas cheer rather than Bordeaux and chicken livers, but the basic premise is the same: blood, blood, and more blood. What’s more, the sketch has absolutely nothing to do with Trump, and, as long as no big story breaks about James Franco or the Saturday Night Live cast, it’s a nice break from the year’s garbage news.
Of course, Aykroyd’s version also had a killer celebrity impression at its center. It’s easy to forget how loopy The French Chef was if you haven’t watched it recently (very loopy) but there’s more going on in that skit than the blood. On the other hand, Franco’s version has a lot more blood, and a lot more cast members, which means he gets to do things like spit blood all over Leslie Jones, who seems like she might have had more lines before Franco got blood right in her mouth. No one in the sketch manages to keep a straight face, Franco botches the bit with the prop foot, and the tubes and pumps spraying fake blood everywhere are visible in almost every shot. But as history has proven, time and again, there’s just no wrong way to do a “cheerfully bleeding to death” skit. Now let’s all kick back with the original (non-Monty Python division), written by the late, great Tom Davis and … recently disgraced Senator Al Franken! And you thought you’d found a fun escape from 2017.