Brow Beat

Oh Yeah! Kool-Aid Man Finally Speaks Out Against Toxic Masculinity on Saturday Night Live

Kool-Aid Man, a giant anthropomorphic pitcher of Kool-Aid, giving a thumbs-up.
Better late than never. NBC

Earlier in the week, Gillette released an ad called “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be” with an anti-bullying, anti-sexual harassment message. On this week’s Saturday Night Live, Kool-Aid got in on the action with an ad of its own:

There’s a cruel bait-and-switch going on here: the sketch’s opening shots suggest that we’re about to see a Kyle Mooney-Beck Bennett take on Kool-Aid commercials, and then it turns into a parody of a Gillette ad. But here’s the thing: Kool-Aid Man is hilarious. As Aristotle famously wrote in the Poetics, once you’ve got Kool-Aid Man on screen, you can do whatever you want for as long as you want without losing your audience. And what Saturday Night Live wanted to do was a shot-for-shot remake of a Gillette ad, so much so that they reused one of Gillette’s shots. Here’s Gillette:

A shot from a Gillette ad of a wall of TVs showing news anchors.

And here’s Saturday Night Live, in which a few of the TVs are now showing footage of Kool-Aid Man crashing through walls:

A wall of televisions from the Saturday Night Live Kool-Aid Man sketch, showing the same news anchors as the Gillette ad.

Superimposing shots of Kool-Aid Man on already extant footage is, frankly, an approach more parodists should take, and I hope a Kool-Aid-Man version of Green Book is going to crash through our collective wall any minute now. The MVP here is Melissa Villaseñor, excitedly yelling  “But we don’t even want Kool-Aid!” in one of the vintage-looking ads. Beck Bennett’s deranged run at a sheet plate-glass window, Kool-Aid pitcher in hand, is also exceptional. But there’s only room for one star in a Kool-Aid Man sketch, and that star is Kool-Aid Man. They really ought to let him host.