Woody Harrelson had one cogent moment in his mess of a monologue during last night’s Saturday Night Live. In one of the thousands of tangential asides, he described telling a friend (True Detective’s Nic Pizzolatto, whom Harrelson visited in Austin the week prior and is a meat eater—and none of this mattered to the monologue, but is an example of how windy that seven minutes was) how he starts smoking pot around noon and then gets progressively dumber as the day goes on. This was about 11:40 pm EST. 

Maybe the writers just wanted to send up Harrelson’s reputation as a blowsy stoner. And indeed, that was a joke in multiple sketches throughout the show. That would mean the monologue’s crime was one of lazy writing that hung Harrelson out to dry. The trip to Austin; the shout-out to his single, handsome manager/drug mule Jeremy in the audience; the trees in Central Park; his anarchist, Marxist, deconstructionist leanings; the seven months he quit drinking last year… It was chaotic and rambling and boring and, oof, embarrassing. Uncle Woody is talking nonsense and needs to go to bed. 

But then matters took a gross turn. That VW-flower-stickered-bus of thought all led up to his punchline about this unbelievable script he read three years ago. Get this: The largest drug cartels in the world have bought off all the media and politicians. In doing so, they’re able to convince a vulnerable human race that it’s in danger and needs to quarantine for its survival. The only way they can come out of lockdown is to take the cartel’s drugs… Uncle Woody is on YouTube and forwarding emails again. Harrelson is such an affable figure. His blue eyes swim with good intentions. But taking the stage to float conspiracy theories disguised as provocative humor is both intellectually dishonest and tedious. Who invited this guy for a fifth time?

The show never recovered from that monologue. Everything remained weirdly out of sync. Except for Jack White, who could be the father of Wednesday Addams and new cast member Michael Longfellow. He’s long since traded in his red and white palette for midnight blues. Still loud, more interesting with age. One pictures a red-faced Harrelson with his arm slung over White’s shoulders at the afterparty trying to get the man to lighten up.


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