‘It’s Late July, We Wouldn’t Be On Anyway’: Bowen Yang Bites Back at Everyone Saying ‘SNL’ Would Ruin the ‘Barbenheimer‘ Bit
This Barbie is the butt of a joke. This Barbie doesn’t like that.
After almost a year of anticipation, “Barbenheimer” is upon us. This past weekend, film buffs of every walk of life got together to celebrate spectacle in cinema, and the turnout for both Barbie and Oppenheimer broke box office records in the process. The unlikely double feature is a counterprogramming cultural phenomenon the likes of which the internet has never seen, and in an exceedingly rare instance of unity, the film bros and Barbie girlies of the world are in agreement — it’s only a matter of time before someone kills the joke.
As we await the bittersweet end of Barbenheimer being a good bit, Twitter has taken a moment to reflect on the abnormally long life of the phenomenon, with some users joking, “Thank God there’s no Saturday Night Live this week,” theorizing that the cloyingly topical sketch show’s take on the matter would be more miss than hit. In response, SNL star Bowen Yang posted a prickly Instagram story shooting back at the haters who don’t think that the show that gave us “Jack Harlow's Joker Wedding” would absolutely nail the joke of the moment.
Yang’s video is likely in response to a viral tweet from yesterday that read, “a big part of why #Barbenheimer still works is that there was no SNL sketch last week to kill the joke.” Yang is correct that, even if the writers’ strike hadn’t cut SNL Season 48 short, the show would still be on summer break, but he’s massively missing the point that mainstream monoliths like SNL trying to join in on the fun of the terminally online typically ends in cringe — though the irony isn’t lost on me that the topic of the meme in question is an amalgamation of the two most mainstream movies of the era.
Meme death is an important part of the meme lifecycle, and as dead horses are beaten and jokes are overdone into oblivion, space is cleared for new trends to arise like fresh vegetation after a brush fire. However, Barbenheimer is such a rare instance of inter-gender positivity that many of us understandably want the fun to continue for a few more days before one of the many humorless attempts by commercial entities to jump on the bandwagon finally makes the meme more dead than Harambe.
Maybe Yang and SNL would have absolutely nailed a Barbenheimer sketch if the movies didn’t premiere during both the show’s summer break and two entertainment strikes. Maybe a proper parody was all the phenomenon needed to achieve cultural immortality the way The O.C.’s “Mmm whatcha say” scene became more than a meme the moment The Lonely Island made “Dear Sister.”
Or, maybe, Yang and his gang would blow it so hard that it would trigger a counter-Barbenheimer movement that destroys the momentum of both movies and, thus, the movie business as a whole. Unlike Oppenheimer himself, Yang will never know what it’s like to flip the coin of victory and annihilation.