In one of its better sketches this weekend, Saturday Night Live looked back to late 2010 and early 2011 and the early days of It Gets Better, the nonprofit devoted to helping LGBTQ teens endure bullying by showing how life will improve for them as adults. Remember those YouTube videos that pretty much every prominent LGBTQ celebrity made around that time? Yeah, somehow it’s been a full decade since that campaign started up, meaning the first wave of teenagers that they were made for are now squarely adults in their mid to late 20s. That’s the concept of this SNL pretape: those teens who felt encouraged and emboldened by those videos look back on who they were and how far they’ve come to show the teens and children of today that it does actually get better. And although life has improved for all these characters in a larger sense, each one of them faces their own unique, idiosyncratic day-to-day challenges, which they all tend to increasingly fixate on as the video progresses.
SNL’s pretapes are often a little more understated and subtle than its live sketches, which is probably one reason they tend to have a higher success rate. That’s true here; from Bowen Yang explaining how he stopped being bullied when he became comfortable with himself in college, only to immediately become bullied by other gays, to Kate McKinnon’s increasingly personal feud with the iguana she bought for the children she never thought she would have, this video depends on naturalistic performances that don’t always work on the stage. Punkie Johnson and host Dan Levy also appear, but it’s Yang and especially McKinnon who make this video work as well as it does. Yang has been one of the show’s highlights since his first episode, while McKinnon excels at both detailed character work and slow-boiling absurdity, which are both key to this video.
Check out the full video below, and see for yourself if SNL is maybe getter better, too.