Precious few good things have come out of the national nightmare that is the coronavirus pandemic and its attendant social and economic shutdown. Measuring against hundreds of thousands of dead Americans, countless more dealing with serious lingering health problems, a Republican-led government clucking that all that human misery and death is just the cost of doing business (and ’Murican freedom), and the loss of the 2020 baseball season, finally being able to work your way through those episodes of Show Me A Hero lurking on your DVR just doesn’t register. Indeed, those of you who’ve actually learned a foreign language or finally finished that birdhouse aside, the rest of us take our little scraps of pleasure where we can snatch them these very long and worrisome days.
Which might be why The Longest Days Of Our Lives remains so damned funny. Granted, the Tonight Show recurring sketch reliably features SNL royalty Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig alongside Jimmy Fallon and some equally game and responsibly shut-in guests stars. And the sight of their characters in a socially distanced Zoom soap opera repeatedly smacking themselves in the kisser in lieu of the usual in-person fake slaps and tossed white wine of the classic soap confrontation is funny stuff. (This week, Wiig apparently enlists someone kicking around her house to deliver an unexpected off-camera blow.) And watching big stars willing to plumb their own early experience with less-than-stellar TV drama to deliver some hammy villainy in service of the faux soap’s incomprehensibly convoluted plot is worth a chuckle. (Former guest Jake Gyllenhaal’s purringly arch, “Hello daddies,” when revealing himself to be the possible son of both Fallon and Ferrell remains a thing of giggly beauty.)
And maybe we’re just starved for some old-fashioned Saturday Night Live-style low-hanging recurring bits. (Look, these have, indeed been some of the longest days of our lives.) Joined tonight by The Roots’ lead MC Black Thought (AKA Tariq Trotter) as an impressively no-nonsense private eye revealing (occasionally in verse) just who pushed Gyllenhaal’s empire-inheriting bastard son into a suddenly frozen California lake (don’t ask), the melodramatically gasping schemers/slumming comedy legends mugged on, despite their soap’s teleconferenced performances glitching right in the middle of every extended expositional speech. We may never find out just how Fallon’s moon-murdered co-patriarch got back to Earth. And is alive. Stay tuned. You really don’t have any choice.