There's no denying the endless appeal of 'Saturday Night Live'. The show has birthed some of the most talented comedians of all time and has lasted decades on television.
However, recent years have shown that the great comedy machine has started to slow down and we're getting less gems and a lot more duds. What it's also shown as a result is that comedy is changing. It's become snappier and more absurdist due to the rise of comedians using apps like TikTok. There's less patience for longer, drawn out sketches. Time is of the essence.
Which is why 'Please Don't Destroy' and their short, pre-recorded skits are a breath of fresh air. The comedy group are quickly showing signs of a breakthrough similar to 'The Lonely Island' before them.
Andy Samberg and co quickly rose to the top with their catchy comedy sketches and songs involving big-name celebrities. It was the ease at which they were comfortable with people laughing with and laughing at them which made them so loveable.
'Please Don't Destroy', made up of Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy, bring a similar energy but with a more of-this-age feel. The troupe started getting noticed throughout the pandemic when they would upload skits from their apartment on social media.
Most of their skits contain a certain level of anxiousness and absurdist humour. They usually involves one of the guys discovering a surreal oddity or they're in some slightly unhinged parallel universe. Like finding out Netflix created a documentary about their life or being convinced that they went to school with Spongebob Squarepants. Or even frenetically finding out poor Paul Mescal got knocked off the top spot of "Hollywood's sinfully sweet new thing".
After their covid-era success, 'Please Don't Destroy' quickly got noticed by the top dogs. By October 2021, were making their first appearance on SNL. Their first skit, titled 'Hard Seltzer' focuses on Martin opening a can of 'JC Penney' to which John can't seem to understand. "Ever since White Claw blew up everyone's doing them."
It's a foundational skit for the troupe who routinely base jokes around bizarre anomalies that baffles a member, only for him to discover it's a completely normal thing.
Quite quickly it was recognised that the trio were perfect sidekicks to whoever the host of the show was going to be that week. Their affable and quick-witted riffs worked hand in hand with major celebs coming in to test out their comedy chops.
The perfect encapsulation of this is 'Rami Wants a Treat' where Rami Malek plays (a little too well) a slightly psychotic version of himself and demands a treat for his "good behaviour". When the guys can't offer him any? He proceeds to start breaking things.
Malek isn't known for his comedy skills but his unhinged character alongside the gang work in perfect synchronicity together, making a really effective skit.
In all of their videos, no jokes are spared and the short amount of time they have is used extremely well. Characters commonly talk over one another with throwaway lines coming from the back and forth in quick succession.
Their skits always seem to be sped up, like you've accidentally clicked 1.25 speed on YouTube. But really, it's a sign of the times that fast-paced jokes are what work now. Beginning with the early days of Vine and ramping up to TikTok and Instagram, comedians can't afford filler for their punchlines. The trio are absolutely a feature of this modern brand of online comedy, and are clearly masters of it already.
But what really sets them apart is - and a huge part of why they work on SNL - is how 'Please Don't Destroy' use themselves as the butt of the joke. They're normal, geeky-looking guys, always happy for their characters to play second fiddle to big featured names. But in doing so, they become the main attraction. Because, if you take the joke out of a skit, there's nothing really left.