Avengers: Endgame hits theatres today, and it’s easily the most anticipated event in film this year. However, judging by advance ticket sales, you won’t be able to see it until around July. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a Marvel fix, or simply need more of the aggressive press tour all 80 members of the cast have been on, look no further than Dom Nero’s spec script for an episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Thanos.
Not by Josh Brolin. By Thanos. The Mad Titan.
Nero, a staff writer for Esquire who has also worked as an assistant editor at SNL, does a perfect job of capturing the show’s tone, rhythms and frequent tendencies, placing Thanos within sketches that could easily run on the show without parodying specific existing sketches (other than the show’s recurring segments). Some do that SNL thing of incorporating the audiences primary association with the host into most of the sketches. The “snap” gets a lot of airtime, both as the subject of a vacuum cleaner commercial parody and as a way to vaporize Weekend Update down to half a page. The script’s finest moments, however, are when the context of Thanos as a character is ignored completely, and you’re left with a completely normal sketch that you slowly remember is starring Thanos.
Parodying comedy sketches—SNL sketches specifically—is a tricky line to walk. 30 Rock’s take was to double down on the primetime ridiculousness of it all, while Studio 60 ill-advisedly tried to make its analogue the most important cultural artifact in American history. But we know the tenor of an SNL sketch when we hear it, and Nero lets us hear it.
The pièce de résistance of the whole script is the textbook insane ten-to-one sketch that has made it to air by the skin of its teeth, dialed all the way up. It’s a work of madness that somehow has nothing and everything to do with Thanos as the host. That alone is worth the price of admission, and I haven’t even mentioned the phenomenally spot-on promo art from Campbell Sherrill. If you haven’t read it yet, now is the time.
Oh, and the musical guest is Hoobastank.