Though “Saturday Night Live” has found tremendous success during the past few seasons as a vehicle of political satire, some of its best sketches take a step away from the goings-on of Washington, D.C.
That was particularly true of Saturday’s episode featuring “Aquaman” actor Jason Momoa. Twitter was alight with chatter about the muscular actor’s revival of his (in)famous “Game of Thrones” character Khal Drogo for an imagined talk show that plays on “Dothraki Public Access” television.
The fake show, titled “Khal Drogo’s Ghost Dojo,” is brought to audiences by both “Little Beard Twisties” (a comedic take on the beard ties that Momoa’s character often wore) and the venue for the “Red Wedding” (if you don’t know what this refers to and plan on watching “Game of Thrones,” maybe don’t Google it). The central conceit is that characters who have died during the first six seasons of the show appear to talk with Drogo – spoofing the fact that George R.R. Martin, who wrote the novels upon which the show is based, seems to enjoy killing off many of his characters.
The show is hosted by Drogo and Kenan Thompson as one of his bloodriders (again, this makes a lot more sense if you’ve seen the HBO show) and they talk to a number of beloved characters.
First up is Beck Bennet’s Hodor, one of the most beloved characters from the series. The interview doesn’t exactly go great, as Hodor basically knows two phrases: “Hodor” and “Hold the door.”
“Hodor,” he says.
“What do you do?” Drogo asks.
“Hodor,” comes the reply. Later he just starts shouting, “Hold the door,” a joke about one of the show’s big reveals.
Next up is Pete Davidson’s High Sparrow, who on the HBO show is a devout and celibate religious leader. He’s curious if he’s gotten into heaven, only to realize he’s on a bad talk show.
“So glad I gave up sex for 50 years,” Davidson’s Sparrow pouts.
“I sex when I want, whenever I want,” Momoa’s Drogo replies. “Many, many partners.”
“And we both ended up in the same heaven,” “SNL’s” Sparrow says. “Cool. Almost makes you question religion.”
Finally, Heidi Gardner comes on as Brienne of Tarth, who isn’t even dead in the show – a question Thompson’s bloodrider quickly raises.
“Are you even dead?” he asks. “I mean, the show’s been on for so long, I’m really asking.”
In the show, the character of Brienne, though female, is often perceived as male since she is a warrior. “SNL” used this to reference Kevin Hart. The comedian stepped down Friday from his gig hosting the Oscars after a number of old homophobic tweets surfaced for which he refused to apologize, despite a request from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“If this man wants to fight, I’ll give him what he wants,” Momoa’s Khal Drogo says about Brienne.
“Man? Wow, you have a lot to learn about identity politics,” she responds.
“You’re right, Khal needs to learn from Khal mistakes or I’ll never win Oscar,” Mamoa as Drago says, nearly breaking into laughter. In a clear reference to Hart, he adds, “I’ll never host Oscar.”
A wide-eyed Thompson just says, “Wow, what a teachable moment.”
Finally, Kate McKinnon appears as the late, young King Joffrey – i.e., “the worst, everybody’s glad he’s dead.”
The show takes a sharp turn into daytime television, bringing to mind “The Jerry Springer Show,” when Thompson’s bloodrider tells Joffrey, “What if I told you that the woman who poisoned you is here tonight?”
Aidy Bryant as Oleanna Tyrell appears, and the two wrestle until Thompson’s character breaks them up.
As the number of odd names in this post suggests, the sketch required some previous knowledge of “Game of Thrones” to fully understand. But it’s a refreshing example of the show taking a break from politics for a silly pop culture spoof.