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As David S. Pumpkins Returns To Save Us All, I Still Have Several Questions

By Dan Hamamura | Saturday Night Live | October 27, 2017 |

By Dan Hamamura | Saturday Night Live | October 27, 2017 |

Ahh, David S. Pumpkins, the sketch* so nice they turned it into an animated special.

There have been many smart, interesting pieces on David S. Pumpkins that are a joy to read, and you should definitely go check those out, because this is not one of those.

Instead, I present to all of you my great shame. A shame I’ve been living with for the past year.

I still don’t understand all the fuss about David S. Pumpkins.

Look, it’s a fine sketch. A solid straight/absurd scene that heightens nicely. I may have even laughed once or twice. And I bet if I saw this performed live, I would have been adequately entertained, because when the performers are enjoying themselves as thoroughly as they are here, you feel it in the room, and that kind of shared joy is infectious.

But why did this become a thing? Why is this what the collective we lost our minds over?

Is it because of Hanx, and his delighted enjoyment of the sketch both in the moment and in the months following? Could it be that we identify with Beck Bennett’s committed frustration, responding to Pumpkins’ “Any questions?” with an exasperated “YES, SEVERAL!” as the door closes?

Is it an allegory for the meaningless of our existence, where we strive for understanding in our brief time on Earth as living, conscious beings, and the fact that we fundamentally cannot and will not ever truly obtain this makes the pursuit all the more frustrating?

Is it possible that I’ve watched this sketch seventeen times today in a misguided attempt to understand the power of David S. Pumpkins, and now all I can hear is that song rattling around in my brain?

Is it the fact that secretly, David S. Pumpkins does, in fact, tell the couple everything they need to know up front, which is that he’s going to scare them, only to successfully follow through on his promise after so thoroughly misdirecting them (and us) that we’ve forgotten that was the only thing he promised from the start?

Why am I still missing the point? Is there no point? Is the fact that there’s no point the point? Maybe if I just watch it one more time, will that unlock the secrets of David S. Pumpkins in my brain?

Someone, please. Save me. Help me understand.

Oh, and the David S. Pumpkins special airs Saturday.

*Yes, I know the sketch is actually called ‘Haunted Elevator’. But you don’t know it as ‘Haunted Elevator’, do you? You know it as David S. Pumpkins, or the David S. Pumpkins sketch, or hey remember that time Tom Hanks was silly and I think it had to do with Halloween? I mean, even SNL’s official title for the sketch on Youtube is ‘Haunted Elevator (ft. David S. Pumpkins)’ because they KNOW that’s what you’re really searching for ohgodhereigohittingplayagain

Dan is the Comedy Editor and Podjiba Host. You can listen to him scream into the void on Twitter, or listen to him host the weekly TV podcast Podjiba.

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