SNL and Jonah Hill Tell One Surreal Sports Story With ‘The Champ’
Last night’s episode of SNL felt a little unfocused, like it didn’t quite know what to do with guest Jonah Hill. However, when the sketches connected, they really connected, with the best of them truly utilizing Hill’s acting chops (he is a two-time Oscar nominee, after all). So it shouldn’t be too surprising that the high point for Hill came in a pre-filmed sketch — he’s funny in regular sketches, but he really shines when things get a little cinematic.
Like so many of the best filmed sketches to play over the past few years, “The Champ” feels more like a strange short film than a piece of sketch comedy. The set-up feels like it was torn straight from your average high school drama, with Hill’s high school wrestler returning home after a victorious match to his proud parents. But things get weird as soon as they turn on the local news, where his victory is the top story. Or rather, “everyone claiming that his opponent let him win because he’s a loser and everyone felt bad for him” is the top story.
Jonah Hill plays the whole thing extremely straight, which only makes the increasingly outlandish events of the short all the funnier. And somehow, the whole thing climaxes with a really great, out-of-left field Eric McCormack joke.