Brow Beat

After a Week This Depressing, You Owe It to Yourself to Watch Awkwafina’s Dance Battle in This Goofy, Joyous Saturday Night Live Sketch

Awkwafina, Travis Scott, and the Saturday Night Live cast dancing.
Quite possibly humankind’s last moment of happiness.

There’s no way to sugar-coat it: This has been a bad week of a bad month of a bad year of a bad decade of a century that hasn’t been shaping up to be great so far. There is a tiny silver lining to what’s beginning to look like capital’s final victory over life itself, however: Awkwafina hosted Saturday Night Live this week, the first Asian woman to do it since Lucy Liu back in 2000. How long ago was that? Long enough that Liu’s opening monologue, a video diary about being the first Asian woman to host the show, featured her pulling Chris Kattan around Central Park in a rickshaw, giving Lorne Michaels a manicure, serving the cast “my grandmother’s special recipe for cocker spaniel,” and wow, so far this hasn’t been a silver lining at all, has it?

But back to the silver lining: things have gotten a little less racist at Saturday Night Live since 2000, even if almost everything else has gotten steadily worse, and this week Awkwafina pulled off this silly and delightful sketch in which she, Kenan Thompson, Leslie Jones, and musical guest Travis Scott win a dance competition by combining incredibly goofy moves with the theme songs from old game shows:

Everybody’s pretty good here, but Awkwafina is exceptional: she’s mastered the Donald O’Connor trick of combining an infectious smile with big, ridiculous moves, and if you can watch this sketch without feeling at least a tiny bit happier, you are a more morose person than I am, which doctors assure me is medically impossible. There are not a lot of uncomplicated pleasures these days: savor this one.