Brow Beat

Watch Paul Rudd and Beck Bennett Ruin a Retirement Party on Saturday Night Live

Beck Bennett, Paul Rudd, and Kenan Thompson perform on SNL.
No sketch should have that much power.
NBC

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!