Last week, it was announced that four very-long-term members of Saturday Night Live (Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney) would be leaving the show after Saturday’s finale. Not only did the show give each of the four significant send-off time on the show, it addressed the feeling of future nostalgia in the sketch “After High School.”
It finds Andrew Dismukes looking back on the class of 2002 through the mists of time, specifically recalling their prom—ah, look at those youngsters dancing away, not a care in the world, no idea of what their future was to hold.
Of course, the future for these teens, in SNL’s view, is distinctly not great and spirals into darker and darker places, consistently circling back to Rachel Finnster (this week’s excellent host, Natasha Lyonne), who was seemingly the origin of most previous and future mayhem. Rachel slept with her classmate’s dad, and with an ambitious guy who eventually made it to the pros—in pornography. Other classmates come in for critique too: The class sweethearts resolved to lose their virginities that night—and they both did; to the DJ. Carly married a miner (a coal miner who was 16) and Billy had the courage to follow his dreams (which were only to kill his grandparents). Carla followed her mother’s footsteps all the way to the U.S. Capitol building—on Jan. 6.
Therapists warn that comparison is a quick route to mental illness. Here, it’s solid comedy. “After High School” has a clever setup and execution, and it may provide a bit of comic comfort for all those who remember the people in their senior class who were considered most likely to succeed and actually succeeded at something other than utterly and/or visibly failing. As for what happened to young Andrew—well, ask Rachel.
In this sketch, the show touches on a universal truth: If you don’t love where you are compared to others in your high school class, relax—you don’t want to know what you don’t know.