There’s something about a musical number that makes any situation less stressful. Maybe if airports actually had singing and dancing baggage handlers, flight attendants, and restaurant workers, the whole experience would be slightly more manageable. For now, we’ll just have to be content with SNL’s musical roasting of LaGuardia Airport. John Mulaney, who is known for his musical sketches when hosting SNL, delivered an instant classic this weekend with “Airport Sushi” — a comedic take on how frustrating the airport experience can be.
The sketch stars Mulaney as an airport cashier, Pete Davidson and Chris Redd as customers, Kenan Thompson as the Phantom of LaGuardia, Alex Moffat as a rat, Kate McKinnon as Auntie Orphan Annie, Cecily Strong as a sushi chef, and Bowen Yang as a profiled Asian in the wake of the coronavirus. And in perhaps the most exciting and unexpected cameo, Jake Gyllenhaal as a guy who travels in pajamas and enjoys the security process a little too much.
Songs include parodies of “America” from West Side Story, “Tomorrow” from Annie, “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, and a variation of “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors, with the lyrics changed to highlight xenophobia.
The climax features David Byrne, the musical guest, taking the stage as a baggage handler and parodying his song “Road to Nowhere” with a rendition of “Plane to Nowhere.”
Previous musical sketches from Mulaney have made fun of other highly New Yorker-specific gripes, including bodega bathrooms and ordering lobster at a diner, and we think airport sushi at LaGuardia makes for a welcome addition to the collection. Of course, the sketch is a highly exaggerated take on the typical airport experience, and perhaps unfairly picking on LaGuardia, but frequent travelers will find several moments with which they identify.