We are just weeks away from Election Day, and we needed this. We needed David S. Pumpkins.
“Saturday Night Live” included a rarity this week: a sketch that made you giggle uncontrollably that wasn’t about politics at all. In “Haunted Elevator,” host Tom Hanks plays a man named David Pumpkins who tries to scare a couple on a Halloween ride.
SNL has been on a bit of a streak lately, thanks in part to the presidential election and debates that are drawing record viewers. People are watching SNL’s parodies of those debates in higher numbers than they did during the last election, and this season premiere was the most watched in decades.
But “Haunted Elevator” serves as a reminder that SNL can still deliver silly sketches that hold up over time, and that celebrity hosts can do more than carry their weight. Recent Emmy winner Kate McKinnon, usually the best part of any bit, is a character in this sketch, but she’s not the one primarily making people laugh.
McKinnon and Beck Bennett enter the elevator ride that stops at “100 floors of fright,” including ones that feature a dead bride, a chef serving a severed head on a platter and Hanks.
“How’s it hanging?” Hanks, in a pumpkin suit, says in an incredibly goofy voice. “I’m David Pumpkins, and I’m going to scare the hell out of you.”
Music kicks in and two skeletons flanking Hanks dance. “Any questions?” he asks.
“I’m just trying to wrap my head around David Pumpkins,” Bennett says. “Am I supposed to know who that is?”
Hanks is a veteran SNL host who has displayed his comedic chops over the years, including in “Five Timers Club” and the “Mr. Belvedere” sketch. But “Haunted Elevator” also works because everyone in it is committed so completely to their ridiculous roles, from confused rider Bennett to dancing skeleton Bobby Moynihan.
The sketch was written by Streeter Seidell, Mikey Day and Moynihan. And people loved it.
And we now have another entry for 2016 Halloween costumes that aren’t Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or Ken Bone.
[This post has been updated.]