A New Video Shows The Insane Amount Of Work That Went Into Making SNL’s “A Kanye Place”
It’s been a massive week for Donald Glover and his music alias, Childish Gambino. After a top-notch appearance as both host and musical guest for SNL over the weekend (May 5), Glover also released a single coupled with an incredibly powerful, intricately layered, and culturally significant music video for, “This Is America.” It is the first song since 2016’s critically-acclaimed, “Awaken, My Love!”
As Heads deconstruct the symbolism in Gambino’s music video, there is another video that brings us directly behind the scenes, this time for Saturday Night Live and the work that went into the topical and funny Glover-led sketch, “A Kanye Place.” While a lot can be said for the effort that went behind Glover/Gambino’s “This Is America,” it is compelling to see all that went into the A Quiet Place spoof with only a few days to make this small new world a reality.
Even before South Park, The Simpsons, and Family Guy, Saturday Night Live has been maintaining a brilliant balance of both the topical and the pop culture satirical for decades, and as the video details for this Kanye/social media-related piece, it is no easy feat.
In between clips and screenshots from the set of the “A Kanye Place” sketch, SNL writers Sudi Green and Fran Gillespie detail the initial thought process behind the sketch, as well as their first pitch to Glover with ideas about Kanye’s tweets in place, just four days before the show officially airs. After deciding to film the sketch instead of airing it live, film unit producer Chris Voss and the writers (1:07) go back and forth discussing the building of the set, as well as the re-work and breakdown of the script to SNL director Oz Rodriguez to adequately fit their vision.
“How are we going to find a cornfield? Or, how are we going to shoot in the woods? Which we very quickly ruled out. There’s just no time, so we had to build it. So from two in the afternoon on Thursday to when we started to film on Friday morning, we had a crew on that stage building nonstop. Which is just crazy. Just to walk into that woods for the first time was incredible,” explains producer Chris Voss.
To add even more realism to their concept (2:18), the SNL crew hired American Sign Language translators who worked on the A Quiet Place film to make sure their sign language was correct, making Glover’s signing for “Trump tweeted” that much funnier.
Between the crafting of the script, to its first pitch, down to post-production and editing, even cutting out a J. Cole joke (3:10), it is even more eye-opening to realize that all of this seemingly tedious, time-consuming work was done within a 36-hour window.
#BonusBeat: Watch the produced full version from SNL: