‘Saturday Night Live’ gives Waffle House center stage ... in a way

Credit: Saturday Night Live

Credit: Saturday Night Live

Atlanta-based Waffle House has had a long-standing reputation as being a late-night meeting spot for drunk partygoers, where occasional mayhem meets bad decision making. (Most famous Waffle House incident: the Kid Rock brawl on Buford Highway in 2007.)

So the writers on “Saturday Night Live” decided to do a three-minute, pre-taped skit based entirely around a Waffle House that aired this past Saturday. But it’s done in the guise of a fake teen series called “Varsity Valley.”

Jenna Ortega, the “Wednesday” actress who was host, plays an earnest high school senior ready to break up with her boyfriend, played by Marcello Hernandez. Their entire, super sincere conversation happens in the parking lot of a Waffle House.

In the meantime, they ignore the ridiculous events happening inside the Waffle House behind them. First, two waitresses get into a tussle. Then a dog is seen sitting on the counter. Moments later, a woman starts dancing on top of the same counter. A cop comes into the Waffle House and confronts a shirtless dude in dreads (Mikey Day) and points a taser at him. The taser doesn’t affect him. A woman swipes the cop’s gun and runs off. A man arrives with a torch and a waitress takes a fire extinguisher and puts it out. A woman in a wheelchair argues with a waitress and moments later, we only see the wheelchair.

The now ex-boyfriend offers to drive Jenna’s character home. But she said her dad is going to do so. Seconds later, her dad gets thrown out a Waffle House window, wipes himself off, stands up, takes his daughter and tells the boy, “Free bird gotta fly, son.”

As the reviewer Andy Hoglund in Entertainment Weekly wrote: “Good staging! And a solid payoff at the end.”