There are two Saturday Night Live premises that almost always succeed: “Weirdo at the Office” and “Surprise! It’s New Wave Music!” As this cut-for-time sketch from this week’s season finale demonstrates, those old standbys can be cross-bred to create a hybrid sketch comedy premise of nearly unstoppable power: “Surprise! Weirdos Are Playing New Wave Music at the Office!” Beck Bennett and host Paul Rudd are the weirdos in question, turning Kenan Thompson’s retirement party into a synthesizer-heavy warning about the age of computers:
The combined sketch is so powerful that only the extras can keep a straight face. If you think you detect a hint of a secret ingredient in “Retirement Party” that doesn’t come from either of its precursor elements, you’re right. Paul Rudd’s wardrobe and choreography contain just a touch of one of the most dangerous and volatile sketch elements mankind has ever developed: Celery Man.
The news that conventional Saturday Night Live sketches can be weaponized by adding common household Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! ingredients raises a troubling question: Has anyone made a one-hour long video of three Celery Men dancing? The answer, fortunately, is yes.
It’s a lovely reminder of the underlying message of “Retirement,” which also happens to be the underlying message of the 21st century: “To become free, all mankind needs is to rise up and destroy computer.” If only we were wise enough to listen!