Let’s All Rediscover Joy By Watching Garth And Kat Sing Their Deranged Songs On ‘SNL’
"Sorry, we LITERALLY just got off a hay ride, like two seconds ago"
There is really nothing like watching two very funny people absolutely lose their shit at the hilarious things they are doing.
And when that hilarious thing is terribly improvising holiday-themed music? Why, that’s the biscuit. That’s the absolute biscuit.
I was recently reminded of these sketches, and experienced the very real pleasure of being able to laugh until I cried while watching them again. So, in these times, now more than ever, etc etc, it’s worth rediscovering Garth and Kat.
Garth and Kat are a long-running skit on SNL’s Weekend Update segment, in which Fred Armisen and my queen Kristen Wiig play the titular and perpetually flustered Garth and Kat, a folk-singing duo who are invited on to sing a selection of different holiday-themed music.
It’s honestly an example of the best parts of SNL — their wigs and dorky vests, their commitment to an incredibly stupid bit, and above all, the kind of hysterical, frantic joy they take in the gag.
There’s also a very specific pleasure in watching people break on SNL, and they usually do in these.
It’s a simple, but endlessly effective premise. Garth and Kat will always rush in, scatterbrained and late, “sorry, we LITERALLY just got off a hay ride, like two seconds ago”. They will attempt sing a song, but obviously improvise both the title and the lyrics, playing an old improv game where you try to match exactly what the leading character is saying. It’s always funny, and almost impossible to do well, even from such seasoned performers as Armisen and Wiig. It leads to beautiful nonsense, that are all the funnier for being so absurd.
“Dracula… Dracula… *gibberish* ate acorns for breakfast. He’s from California! California!”
A long suffering, and also tragically hot Seth Meyers as the host, plays the straight man, who is endlessly optimistic that he’ll get a good song from “the best looking people he’s ever met”, but is always let down.
Armisen has said in interviews that Garth is his favourite character from SNL, and Wiig said in this interview with Movieline that the sketch is “.. the most fun I have because so much of the show is writing, working, deadlines, trying to figure things out, punching up your sketch, knowing you’re going to perform live. And that two and a half minutes of airtime is so freeing and fun.”
That joy comes across — the hysteria of the two actors trying to keep it together escalates over each song. The fact that they NEVER admit to not having prepared is just so simple and good and funny. My favourite bit is always where they end up begging to do another sing, and act like petulant kids. “Please Mr Minors, c’mon, PLEASE Mr Minors”.
The Halloween episode might be the funniest, but frankly, they’re all good. Let’s watch them.