Fred Armisen played a beloved but fired teacher at an all-boys school in a surprisingly gory spoof of “Dead Poets Society” during the season finale episode of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
In the pre-taped sketch, “Farewell, Mr. Bunting,” Bobby Moynihan played the uptight headmaster who takes over the English class of Armisen’s Bunting and lectured the uniformed boys about how “Poetry should not be fun. It should be oppressive and the reader should hate it.”
As Bunting returned to the classroom to collect his things, the students (played by Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, Jay Pharoah, Jon Rudnitsky and Pete Davidson) began to rise up out of their seats, stand on their desks and recite the opening line from some fictional poem: “I Sing My Soul for All to Hear.”
And that’s when the sketch took a dark and bloody twist — thanks to the unfortunate placement of a ceiling fan.
And the spattering of fake blood continued as Peter Weir‘s bittersweet 1989 drama morphed into something more like a splatter-fest horror movie of the late ’80s.
Elsewhere in “SNL,” guest host Armisen used his opening monologue to deliver an irreverent excerpt of a supposed one-man show titled, “Love from New York, I Did Saturday’s Right.”
The sendup of one-man shows combined the “Family Guy”‘s treatment of how ridiculous it can be for one person to do so many different voices within the short span of time with meta moments reminiscent of the “Mr. Show” sketch, “The Audition.”
But the formula also included Armisen’s personal touch, which is that irresistible sweetness and gentle mockery of clichés.
Watch the “Farewell, Mr. Bunting” sketch above.