Friday’s Amber Ruffin Show saw the seemingly indefatigably ebullient Ruffin offering her Peacock (and tryout NBC) viewership a little breather. And, as much as we all need some relief after now a full year of COVID lockdown (for the smart and responsible) or constant dirty looks, increased risk, and shouts of “Hey, put on a fucking mask, there are old people in this post office, you dick!” (others), Ruffin’s few minutes of meditation and happy thoughts seemed especially targeted right to someone in her 30 Rockefeller Plaza family. Trusty sideman and frequent musical partner Tarik Davis, asked by Ruffin why he’d missed the last few shows, asked his boss and pal, “You want a real answer, or one that makes you sad?”
Yeah, Tarik had COVID, as he explained in Ruffin’s preferred way of being informed of some truly terrible and terrifying news: smiling, euphemistic platitudes, interspersed with starkly frightening black-and-white silent movie-style title cards. Davis, who came through his ordeal okay, thankfully, assured everybody that he was just taking “some me time” (“I had COVID” read the card). You know, just getting away for a while (“An ambulance ride and a trip to the COVID ward.”) And doesn’t everyone deserve a break of heavenly bedrest and alone time? (“It was, quite literally, hell.”) Again, Davis is fine, although he (in those revealing interstitials) warned viewers that he’d always been super-careful (everyone entering 30 Rock is tested every damned day), hasn’t broken lockdown, and doesn’t not live in a state like, say, Texas (or Mississippi) where Republican lawmakers have decided to lift those silly, life-saving mask mandates. (“If you live in Texas, your governor is trying to kill you.”)
So, yeah, everybody could use a little cooldown right about now, perhaps in the form of Amber’s disembodied, serenely smiling head wafting past footage of wrestling puppies, waterfalls, and little children blowing dandelion seeds in a sunny meadow. Just sit back and relax as Amber’s head regales you with the tiny but potently pleasing prospect of “someone admitting they’re wrong without getting defensive,” “Up, but without those first few minutes—you know the ones,” and the universally delighting sight of “A man saying, ‘Not to be racist, but—,’ and slipping on a banana peel.” Just let it all wash over you as you stay the fuck indoors, continue to wear a mask, and wait for your turn in the blessed vaccine queue. It’s as peaceful as “Finally figuring out the name of that song you heard years ago.” It was “Freek-A-Leek.” Stay frosty.