The Saturday Night Live promo segments never appear to be anybody’s favorite gig. Even when a genuinely funny person is hosting the coming week’s show, this exercise in pre-show hype comes off more like an obligation than anything cast, crew, host, and musical guest really want to do during the frenzied walk-up to Saturday’s live show.
Still, Succession star Kieran Culkin gives off the playfully committed vibe in his two riffs alongside Heidi Gardner and Chris Redd. After all, why can’t there be ghosts? Studio 8H certainly has had its share of strange occurrences, and personalities unlikely to be dispelled by anything as insignificant as a little death. “Okay, well I guess we can have ghosts,” finally demurs the promisingly game Culkin, acceding to his future castmates’ wide-eyed pleas that ghost comedy is the best comedy.
Of course, Culkin’s been in 8H before, if he can remember back to when his older brother Macauley hosted the show back in 1991. Kieran, then just tagging along for his Home Alone megastar big brother’s hosting gig, made a few onscreen appearances in support, but, since time is a horrifying thing, that was almost exactly 30 years ago.
Now, with Macauley having moved onto a well-deserved early semi-retirement into the worlds of music, podcasting, and the odd, disastrous Quentin Tarantino audition, it’s the 39-year-old younger Culkin’s time to shine. Playing along with Redd and Gardner’s name-game goofs about his first name rhyming with the last of musical guest Ed Sheeran (honestly, “Kieran and Sheeran, beerin’ and hearin’” sounds like a fun time), everyone’s favorite/least-favorite member of the plutocratically evil Roy family posited a time when he and Sheeran would wind up together. (Where he would, naturally, be Kieran Sheeran, since nobody could resist the rhyme, regardless of career branding.)
As for this week’s show, it’s probably a safe bet that a guy who’s been in the acting game literally since he was able to read a script will handle the infamously tough gig with professional aplomb. For one thing, with notorious stage dad Kit no longer making demands of SNL producer Lorne Michaels (the elder Culkin reportedly banned all cue cards from Macauley’s show, making that the only episode in SNL history where everyone memorized their lines), Kieran should have some measure of control. And if Kieran doesn’t get as cool of a musical guest (Macauley got David Bowie, albeit with saggy side project Tin Machine), at least we’ll always have Kieran Sheeran. (Ed Sheeran’s COVID recovery having robbed us of a fan-mounted Mountain Goats write-in campaign is always going to sting a little bit.)