Since their most recent episode went live less than 24 hours before the fifth season premiere of Game of Thrones, you had to know the cast and writers of Saturday Night Live were planning some kind of comedic trip to the Seven Kingdoms, and they didn’t disappoint.
They also didn’t opt for a live Thrones sketch, preferring instead to fall back on the higher production value of a pre-taped bit that doesn’t go for digs at all the explicit sex and complicated character names, but instead takes the very specific tone of the show and merges it with the world of John Singelton’s Boyz n the Hood.
Sure, that dates the gag a bit (the movie will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year), but something about the urban grit of Singleton’s film merges well with the moody anyone-can-be-killed fantasy of the HBO series, and while some of the jokes are obvious (guys in Westeros garb shooting dice in the street and a gag about “high-top sandals”) the fun everyone is having comes across. Kenan Thompson, who can pull a laugh out of even the deadest of sketches, puts on his best Ice Cube circa 1991 impression and talks about “breedin’ direwolves,” Leslie Jones steals the whole show (as she so often does these days) with lines like “Ray Ray Baratheon bids you good morrow, wench,” and Michael Che accurately sums up the complexity of the whole story by declaring “if it was a book it’d be seven long-ass books.” Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) even shows up to lend a little Lannister flair.
Hey, it might not be the greatest Game of Thrones spoof ever, but it definitely makes me want to see an episode in which Jones and Brienne of Tarth just hang out and kill stuff together.