You’re not supposed to notice Bobby Moynihan. Though he’s been on “Saturday Night Live” for nine seasons, he disappears on screen, slipping fully into whatever character he plays or creates. A character comedian on level with Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, able to wholeheartedly become someone else before your eyes, Moynihan is.
Those characters of his own making are singular and singularly-minded. Drunk Uncle, Anthony Crispino, Retail Employee Niff. All woefully ignorant, tunnel-visioned creatures, unable to see the disparity of their perceptions and reality, which is where the comedy comes from. Even his impressions—Chris Christie, Guy Fieri, Snooki—operate in that same manner. It’s possibly why Moynihan can mine fresh jokes out of these public figures on the butt of so many already.
With all these characters he isn’t mean, but empathetic, often underscoring these larger-than-life personalities with a layer of loneliness or sadness, reminding you his characters only act in an obnoxious manner because they want to be loved yet know they’re not. And while Kenan Thompson will forever remain the SNL king of jump-cut reaction shots, Bobby Moynihan is a close second in making you laugh solely by the look in his eyes or shape of his face.
It was recently announced Bobby Moynihan is officially leaving SNL following nine seasons on the show. As legendary as the comedians who have rolled through Studio 8H, no one has made me laugh harder than Moynihan. At least when we’re discussing his best sketch, his laughs per minute rating is a 99+ and as silly as anything the show has ever done. When watching this live, my roommates at the time burst into the living room, worried over my safety because I was howling, giggling, and crying. To quote Louis C.K., I thought it was “hilarious.” That sketch would be Kirby and his kitty Fuzz Alrdin.
This is the first of two appearances Moynihan made as Kirby. You know how some episodes of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone will hit you with a funny gag, then pound that gag into the ground, only to resurrect it by episode’s end and it transform into something funnier than it was originally? Think of this sketch following that same pattern as Moynihan plays a flamboyant astronaut part of a crew on a mission that is humanity’s only hope. But he won’t stop talking about his kitty cat.
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Moynihan commits all the way for this sketch. At first you’re unsure how to accept Moynihan’s Kirby, he seems too weird, too out there. But he wears you down through pure repetition of stating, “I miss my little kitty cat.” This sketch disarms you, solely because of Moynihan, and you’re wholly unaware where this is all going, if anywhere at all. The popular and culturally influential SNL sketches exist in this world, and you can usually anticipate the comedy. While still funny, they aren’t gut-bursting like Moynihan’s Kirby because you with someone like this you can’t predict the punchlines. You’re eating out of Moynihan’s hands—and Fuzz Aldrin’s paws—willing to follow him wherever he so chooses.
If you don’t fall for dumb animals puns like “Tom Cruise Cat in Frisky Business” and “Kitty Purry,” that’s fine. This sketch isn’t for you (neither is BoJack Horseman perhaps). Both of Moynihan’s Kirby and Fuzz Aldrin sketches are delirious and nonsensical and won’t be the first mention in his SNL history bio. But it showcases why I love watching Bobby Moynihan throughout his run on Saturday Night Live. He knows he’s ridiculous, but Moynihan bores full steam ahead regardless, content to let the whole world think of him what they will. I’ll miss him. And his little kitty cat.