Friday, August 12, 2022

‘SNL’ roasts Wilmington karaoke scene with Marvel-star host Simu Liu, who just filmed ‘One True Loves’ locally

Just last week Simu Liu was wrapping up production of “One True Loves” in Wilmington, a film adaption of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s best-selling novel of the same name. A week later, Saturday, Nov. 20, he was hosting “Saturday Night Live,” giving his best impression of a sound-deaf karaoke scene in the Port City.

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The almost 50-year-old sketch show “SNL” parodied Wilmington crooners in “Karaoke Recap,” a show that features the week’s most cringe-worthy performances at the faux Brixby’s Bar and Grill (Browncoat? Katy’s? Reel Cafe?). The kicker: The show is aired on the Wilmington cable access channel.

The City of Wilmington caught wave of it Sunday morning, retweeting the bit and asking followers:

“So, should we add Karaoke Recap to our actual gov access channel? It would go nicely between the City Council replay and holiday safety PSA, don’t you think?”

Though highlighting the Port City, the satire actually nails karaoke archetypes that can be seen in Anytown, USA.

The sketch features “SNL” veteran Kenan Thompson and newcomer master impersonator Chloe Fineman recapping the week’s karaoke all-stars. First up are the “Bad Choice All Stars” — people who pick the wrong songs, like “the guy who was doing great until the high notes come in” or “the woman who’s been over served,” singing an unintelligible “Su Soppa Layla” (i.e. “Smooth Operator” by Sade).

Pete Davidson shows up as “Neil, the quiet guy in the hoodie,” who takes the stage weekly to perform the same song, “Mad World,” by Gary Jules.

“I gotta be honest, that guy’s giving off real Columbine vibes,” Fineman comments as host Misty Barefoot, heavily burying enunciations with a deep Southern drawl.

For the “Cringe All-Stars,” a couple singing in the voices of Homer and Marge Simpson perform Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream,” but perhaps the most disturbing performance comes when a father and daughter bump and grind to Ginuwine’s “My Pony.

“You can’t unsee that,” Thompson as Brixby’s bar owner states.

Liu finally makes his appearance as a “finance office bro trying to get laid,” churning out the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way,” before Cecily Strong takes the show over the top, performing as the girl whose friends signed her up for karaoke unknowingly.

“But we know the real truth,” Fineman says.

Strong belts out Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” a feat for any karaoke singer to take on and usually only reserved for those who want to show off their vocal reach.

Though Liu honed in on comedy on “SNL,” his role as Sam in “One True Loves” centers on drama. The love story is about a woman who is “unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.”

The Canadian actor, stuntman and martial artist gained worldwide attention recently as Marvel’s first Asian superhero in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” The Labor Day release topped the box office at over $145 million.

While in Wilmington, Liu was seen at various community events and businesses, and even joined the UNCW men’s club volleyball team for a practice in October. Social media was abuzz Sunday morning, as locals shared stories of Liu sightings. Some even suggested the sketch could be based on last week’s “One True Loves” wrap party, which happened to have … yep, karaoke.

“One True Loves” is slated for a 2022 release.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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