Anya Taylor-Joy hosted Saturday Night Live tonight, and wasted no time getting to the obvious Queen’s Gambit references. They hit up Taylor-Joy’s Netflix hit during her monologue, with some jokes and a few unique visual gimmicks that presumably make sense to people who’ve actually watched that show. (Uh, I haven’t. All I know about it comes from what I’ve read here at Paste and from AEW’s Being the Elite sketch where Luchasaurus put on a red-haired wig and became really good at chess.)
Look, we’d probably normally rib SNL a little for riffing on a show that came out seven months ago. The pandemic’s been weird, though. Time has meant nothing for at least the last 14 months. Plus, in the grand scheme of things, SNL taking seven months to reference a pop culture phenomenon is actually kind of timely; this show has a very liberal attitude towards what trends it will make fun of. Hell, just last week it had a sketch based on The Last Dance, the Michael Jordan docuseries that aired on ESPN over a year ago. SNL has never cared that much about speed, so it’s actually totally okay that it took so long to touch on The Queen’s Gambit. And yeah, it made sense to do so tonight, with the show’s star hosting; unsurprisingly, Taylor-Joy was absolutely fine as host, doing a totally professional job.
So here’s the proof: below you’ll find Taylor-Joy’s monologue, complete with those references to a Netflix miniseries that came out last year. Again, I haven’t seen it yet, so, uh, I have absolutely no idea how accurate or faithful or compelling this whole thing is. Hell, maybe it’s got nothing to do with the show itself beyond the actress, the music, and the vague notion of chess. I don’t know. If you do know, I recommend feeling good about yourself in private, and not taking the time to share your knowledge with us in any way whatsoever. That would be the best possible move in this case.
Here’s the video. Check it out, dig it, and maybe imagine a world in which SNL decided to do a The Witch sketch with Taylor-Joy instead.