“SNL” host Jake Gyllenhaal and cast member Cecily Strong put their best spin on the classic play and film “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” in the sketch “Dinner with the Dean,” which was cut for time from Saturday night’s broadcast.
In the sketch, the “Ambulance” actor and the comedian channeled Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in their portrayal of dysfunctional couple Louis and Vanessa Williams. The “junior dean of the Fine Arts Program at Beige College” and his wife begin to make their dinner guests (played by “SNL” cast members Andrew Dismukes and Chloe Fineman) uncomfortable when they start picking a fight in front of them.
The trouble starts when Fineman’s character announces that they have to leave because “it’s well past nine and we’re trying to have a baby.”
“We almost had one of those once, remember dear?” Vanessa asks her husband. When he blames her, their snide barbs turn into a full-blown argument – with Gyllenhaal and Strong almost but not quite breaking character.
Things really take a turn towards the absurd when Vanessa threatens to show their guests Louis’ long-lost paintings that are the reason they never had a child. After much back and forth – including a game of tug-of-war with a canvas – the paintings are finally revealed to be cartoonish depictions of dogs performing human activities, like reading on the toilet or sitting on a bench.
The pièce de résistance is a “self-portrait” of a dog styled like Bob Ross, painting a landscape. “It’s not finished,” says Louis. “I was going to add a thought bubble that said, ‘It’s a living.'”
At the end of the sketch, the “heartless creature” and “failure” reconcile. “That’s why we can’t escape each other,” says Vanessa. “And that’s why we could never have children.”
“Cheers to that!” Louis replies.
You can watch the full sketch in the video above.
In his second time hosting “Saturday Night Live,” Gyllenhaal appeared in a number of skits, including many that required him to sing. He was accompanied by musical guest Camilla Cabello. Next week’s episode will feature Lizzo as both host and musical guest.