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Rami Malek and Pete Davidson star in 'Squid Game: The Musical' on 'SNL'

Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
 2021-10-17

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It was only a matter of time until writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk's smash hit survival drama, "Squid Game," got the parody treatment on "Saturday Night Live."

This weekend, "SNL" host Rami Malek and cast member Pete Davidson donned the South Korean series ' signature green tracksuits for a musical version of the gruesome Netflix thriller, which has surpassed "Bridgerton" and other fan-favorite titles as the most sampled show ever released on the streaming platform.

"Guess I gotta play the Squid Game / My only option is the Squid Game / I have a number, not a real name / 'cause I'm playing in the Squid Game," Davidson sings with a country twang after lamenting the grim financial circumstances that led to his entering the deadly competition with a lofty cash prize.

"Weird cards, pink guards / Locked us in a big room / ... Bunk beds, new friends / Piggy bank up in the sky," Malek sings.

Throughout the digital short, the "No Time to Die" star and the rising comedian participate in a number of sinister children's games featured in the nine-part series, including the dreaded honeycomb challenge, tempered glass roulette and, of course, the infamous "Squid Game"-version of Red Light, Green Light.

"There's a robot girl who caught me runnin' / Better duck behind the nearest guy," Davidson sings as the show's giant watch-doll with cameras for eyes zeroes in on fellow "SNL" cast member Chris Redd.

"Forty-five billion won / That's a whole lotta money," Malek sings. "At least I think it is / I'm confused by the currency / Anyway, I'm on a glass bridge / And I think I'm gonna win."

Thanks to its wildly popular source material, the "Squid Game" spoof was a standout moment during Saturday's telecast. Here are a few more highlights from the episode, hosted by Malek with musical guest Young Thug.

Cold open tackles latest NFL scandal

As usual, the "SNL" writing team pulled no punches while tackling one of the buzziest news stories of the week for the cold open, which saw brand-new cast member James Austin Johnson portray ousted Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden during a mock NFL press conference.

Gruden was forced to resign from his head-coaching position earlier this week after coming under fire for homophobic and misogynistic emails, paired with reports of racist remarks.

"This time, one of our coaches is accused of racism, misogyny and homophobia — but, hey, at least no one's talking about concussions," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (Colin Jost).

"I hope you won't judge me on one email I sent 10 years ago, or the 20 emails I sent last Tuesday," said Johnson's Gruden. "I promise I don't have a racist bone in my body. When I called an African American player 'darker than a night with no stars,' that wasn't racial. I was referring to his sense of humor, which is extremely dark and edgy, like that show 'Louis' on FX."

Malek has 'resting villain face' in opening monologue

Oscar-winning actor Malek made his "SNL" hosting debut to promote "No Time to Die," the latest installment in the James Bond franchise, which stars Malek as a ruthless bioweapon manufacturer opposite Daniel Craig's heroic 007.

"I tend to play these really intense characters," Malek said in his opening monologue.

"Which makes a lot of sense, because people tell me I have what's called 'resting villain face.' ... I know most people would rather play the hero, but weirdly, I've always been more drawn to villains. I sympathize with them. In 'Lion King,' I'm team Scar. I actually found Simba to be kind of annoying."

Craig makes a cameo — or two

Speaking of James Bond, outgoing 007 himself, Craig, made a couple of guest appearances throughout Saturday's broadcast.

During a "Prince Auditions" sketch, Craig arrived last-minute to read for the role of Prince for a forthcoming biopic about the late rock legend, directed by Oscar winner Jordan Peele (Redd) — much to the dismay of fellow hopefuls Malek and Kenan Thompson.

But Craig, dressed in full Shakespearean period garb, seemed to misunderstand the assignment.

"Am I late?" Craig said, before bowing to raucous applause from the studio audience. "I'm here to audition for the part of the Prince."

"The audition is not for the Prince," Redd's Peele said. "It's for Prince, the singer."

Craig was also featured alongside Cecily Strong in another sketch about an eccentric improv duo played by Malek and "SNL" rookie Aristotle Athari.

Malek and Bowen Yang bug out in off-the-wall sketch

Arguably the strangest sketch of the night, "Bug Assembly" saw Malek and Yang play a geeky stink bug and a vogueing daddy long legs, respectively, during a middle school class presentation.

"It's all in the name: I'm a father and my legs go on for weeks," explained Yang's daddy long legs, who insisted on being called simply "Daddy."

"I'm hot. I party. I walk into the room, and I am respected. No more questions."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times .

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