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Did Bob Corker’s Horrifying Office Art Inspire This Saturday Night Live Sketch?

John Krasinski sits at a desk in a still from SNL. To his left is a sculpture made from gluing baby dolls together into a centipede; on the wall behind him is a painting of a man pulling the skin from his own face.
Aaaaaaagh! NBC

It’s rare that you can pinpoint the exact inception point of a Saturday Night Live sketch, but this week’s episode included an exception: A sketch that was almost certainly inspired by a tweet from podcast host Drew Mackie. Mackie’s tweet came on Jan. 8, after watching this appearance from former senator Bob Corker on MSNBC. Give it a look and see if anything catches your eye:

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Here’s what Mackie noticed:

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And here’s Saturday Night Live’s take on creepy Zoom background art, with this week’s host John Krasinski totally blowing a CNBC appearance:

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First of all, “Centipediatric” is an exemplary piece of horrifying sculpture, and the propmaker responsible should be very proud, and also should burn it with fire before it scuttles off into the vents.* Second, “You’re indulgent with the mustard” is grade-A creepy dialogue, perfectly delivered by Kate McKinnon. Third, and most importantly, Mackie’s original question, “WHAT THE FUCK IS BEHIND BOB CORKER?” still needs an answer—to which I’d add a question of my own: “HOW CAN WE SEND WHATEVER THE FUCK IS BEHIND BOB CORKER BACK TO WHEREVER IT CAME FROM?” As readers who watched the MSNBC segment above will soon come to realize, once you’ve noticed the thing behind Bob Corker, you start seeing it everywhere: CNBC, Fox News, behind you in the bathroom mirror, and so on. The only cure, I’ve come to believe after rewatching The Ring, is convincing other people to notice the thing behind Bob Corker before it becomes strong enough to manifest itself in physical form, so I’d like to extend a hearty “Thank you, and good luck,” to Slate’s readers. As for Mackie, the first victim of the Corker Curse, he seems to be doing fine:

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If you know what that thing behind Bob Corker is, please do not email us here at Slate with the answer. Some things it’s better not to know.

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Update, Feb. 3, 2021: Corinne Beinart of the Beinart Gallery reached out on Twitter to point out that the sculpture featured in this sketch is modeled after Jon Beinart’s “Toddlerpede” sculptures, so the prop guy who built the trophy shouldn’t be quite as proud as I said at first. Also, the folks behind the Skullduggery podcast tracked down the details of the sculpture in Corker’s office. It’s Caged Man Sings, by Bruce Chapin.

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