"Any questions???" An Oral History of David S. Pumpkins
October 23, 2017 8:28 AM   Subscribe

“Gentlemen, I swear I will figure out who this David Pumpkins is by the time it’s on television.” He thought it was insane. When you say it out loud, it’s insane. “Hey Tom, so you play a guy. His name’s David Pumpkins. He’s in a haunted elevator. No one knows who he is and you’re just super confident and cool.”
posted by a fiendish thingy (67 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Also see Bobby Moynihan discussing the David S. Pumpkins skit with Seth Meyers (skit discussion itself starts at about the 3 minute mark)
posted by nubs at 8:39 AM on October 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


This sketch made me laugh so hard last year. I think Shepherd and I must have watched it a bajillion times.
posted by Kitteh at 8:52 AM on October 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


He's basically just orange Beakman minus science.
posted by mattamatic at 8:55 AM on October 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


I... I've watched it every couple of months all year. I actually never got what people liked about Tom Hanks until that sketch.
posted by potrzebie at 8:56 AM on October 23, 2017 [8 favorites]


i am so in the weeds with david pumpkins
posted by entropicamericana at 8:58 AM on October 23, 2017 [38 favorites]


You just know that behind every classic SNL sketch there's a story like this about how the entire piece is a random mess and then suddenly comes together in 48 hours. I have great respect for these writers. I wish we had more of these stories.

Supposedly the new SNL exhibition at the Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications tries to capture the energy and chaos in that week of writing and rehearsing. Now I want to visit it even more.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:07 AM on October 23, 2017 [7 favorites]


"SS: We were happy to not write a political sketch." I bet.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 9:08 AM on October 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


SO in the weeds with David S Pumpkins! My second-favorite SNL Halloween sketch is the spooky haunted cemetery with Jim Carrey.
posted by Emily's Fist at 9:10 AM on October 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


According to the time stamp on Hulu, the length of the David S. Pumpkins sketch is 4:20. COINCIDENCE???
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 9:15 AM on October 23, 2017 [5 favorites]


Explains being in the weeds with David Pumpkins.
posted by dr_dank at 9:17 AM on October 23, 2017 [25 favorites]


behind every classic SNL sketch there's a story like this about how the entire piece is a random mess and then suddenly comes together in 48 hours.

Because there are a lot of non-classic SNL sketches that are random messes or have too much talking or exposition or don't have an ending. Comedy written at 4am comes from strange (and dark) places, and sometimes it withers in daylight.

What's interesting about this account is that the ending shows up so late, and while the format of the sketch was ideally suited to live staging -- the doors open, it's a new floor -- delivering that ending was a challenge in terms of blocking and camera angles.
posted by holgate at 9:23 AM on October 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


It does demonstrate that just thinking you're a thing with absolute confidence will actually make you a thing.

Except for the Great Pumpkin. I assume that everybody has just been honoring Skippy Schultz's wish that it be a private ceremony for Linus that he is never able to effectively market, because, at the very least, you think Minnesota, which will never pass up a chance to profit from Schultz's legacy, would have Great Pumpkin festivals in every pumpkin patch.
posted by maxsparber at 9:26 AM on October 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


This sketch is part of my "video rescue" kit that also includes goats screaming like humans and video game glitches as a thing that'll give me a sort of brain reboot when I'm getting despairy. The all-in-ness of everyone involved (including the reverse double all-in of Kenan Thompson) is what sells it.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:27 AM on October 23, 2017 [12 favorites]


What I find interesting about the account is how hard Tom kept working to try to figure out who David Pumpkins was, and then found him in the end - the voice, the finger point, the face...
posted by nubs at 9:27 AM on October 23, 2017 [9 favorites]


I spoke too soon.
posted by maxsparber at 9:27 AM on October 23, 2017 [4 favorites]


Peter Dinklage replying in rhyme to his casting offer for the rhyming narrator in the animated special is very, very sweet.
posted by Spatch at 9:36 AM on October 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


This is exactly the type of SNL sketch that I can't stand and find painful to watch. Which is probably why I don't get invited to that many parties.

thinking you're a thing with absolute confidence will actually make you a thing
Probably not coincidentally, but people doing this in real life makes me want to claw my face off and make a me-shaped hole in the nearest wall in an effort to escape them.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:39 AM on October 23, 2017 [8 favorites]


I'd be nice to see this sketch and know what everyone is talking about. I don't know if I want to spend more than 10 minutes looking though.

*extremely Canadian sigh*
posted by ODiV at 9:41 AM on October 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


There are two things that bring me great joy:

-"Right before the elevator doors opened, Tom whispered, “So is this butt slaps?”"

-The entire Hanks clan being forced to answer for David S. Pumpkins in endless social scenarios
posted by a fiendish thingy at 9:45 AM on October 23, 2017 [18 favorites]


Comedy written at 4am comes from strange (and dark) places, and sometimes it withers in daylight.

5:30 am too (there's an XKCD for everything).

The song is insanely catchy; back at the time of the original airing I had it stuck as an earworm for a good while. And me and one of my workplace buddies kept quoting one exchange:

"Any questions?"

"Yes! SEVERAL!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:49 AM on October 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


Peter Dinklage replying in rhyme to his casting offer for the rhyming narrator in the animated special is very, very sweet.

That's just how you do when your pants are a map of the solar system.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:55 AM on October 23, 2017 [8 favorites]


(I completely need one of these articles about how "Space Pants" came together.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:59 AM on October 23, 2017 [8 favorites]


Agreed. And the Kevin Roberts one as well.

Just for fun, here's the Larry David rehearsals for the Kevin Roberts FBI sketch that are probably even funnier than the final product.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:18 AM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


Skippy Schultz's

Sparky.

/pedant
posted by briank at 10:50 AM on October 23, 2017 [8 favorites]


*extremely Canadian sigh*

This works for me, fellow Canadian
posted by nubs at 10:52 AM on October 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


It does demonstrate that just thinking you're a thing with absolute confidence will actually make you a thing.

So it is a Trump metaphor.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:56 AM on October 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


I had forgotten that Bobby Moynihan was gone until I read that. Oops.

Also this is hilarious.

BM: He told us about the BuzzFeed article that was like, “Which famous Tom Hanks character are you?” It was like all his famous, Oscar-winning performances, and then he got David S. Pumpkins.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:30 AM on October 23, 2017 [5 favorites]


Sparky.


Dammit. I knew I should have double-checked.
posted by maxsparber at 12:12 PM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


It’s hard to believe that David S. Pumpkins debuted a year ago. Not only does time seem compressed now, but it’s still fresh.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:21 PM on October 23, 2017 [9 favorites]


I would like to believe that BuzzFeed quiz only ever gives people David S. Pumpkins.
posted by ckape at 12:22 PM on October 23, 2017 [15 favorites]


Welp, I just took it...and got David S. Pumpkins, so you may be right.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:36 PM on October 23, 2017


Well, I got Robert Langdon from the Da Vinci Code. That may be the most insulting thing that has happened to me in a while.
posted by nubs at 12:40 PM on October 23, 2017 [25 favorites]


"I don’t know why we assumed Tom Hanks would know how to break-dance."

No I think that's a perfectly valid assumption and frankly I'm a little heartbroken now.
posted by parm at 12:41 PM on October 23, 2017 [17 favorites]


I'm from Turner and Hooch, which I've never seen, so I'm not sure if I'm being insulted or not.
posted by Four Ds at 12:51 PM on October 23, 2017


Any questions?
posted by The Great David S. Pumpkins at 12:56 PM on October 23, 2017 [22 favorites]


Yeah. I would describe you as confident, although I wouldn't go so far as to say cool.
posted by Samizdata at 12:59 PM on October 23, 2017


This is a great sketch and all, but can we maybe hold out the word "classic" for things which are more than a year old?
posted by Automocar at 1:46 PM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


"popular". Better?
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:01 PM on October 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is a great sketch and all, but can we maybe hold out the word "classic" for things which are more than a year old?

Normally, I'd agree with you, but what is time anymore? Psychologically, it's been 8 gazillion years since the election, so... classic. (Because it's been 8 gazillion years since the election, I actually had to remind myself that this happened BEFORE the election.)

I love David S. Pumpkins. I watch it often, when I need a mental break. I don't think it would have worked if it had been anyone other than Tom Hanks though. Chris Hemsworth wouldn't have been able to put the S in David S. Pumpkins.
posted by Ruki at 2:09 PM on October 23, 2017 [10 favorites]


No, for truly classic SNL, you have to go back to Year One and "Fluckers".

disclaimer: my uncle had a farm near the original Smuckers jam factory in Orrville, Ohio, so I had pleasant memories of that brand even before it used the "with a name like Smuckers, it has to be good" ad line that SNL takes off from.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:10 PM on October 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


I love Tom Hanks. I enjoyed that episode, in general. But I remember thinking, both while watching and while checking Twitter to see what pop culture element I could possibly be missing, what the ever-lovin' f(iretr)uck is going on? Why is this supposed to be funny? I didn't laugh -- I just had that smushed-up "huh" face. It seemed like the kind of thing you laugh at when your friend's little kid puts on a "show." I've read the whole article, and I still don't get it.

For what it's worth, I thought Space Pants was hysterical.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 3:02 PM on October 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


It’s hard to believe that David S. Pumpkins debuted a year ago. Not only does time seem compressed now, but it’s still fresh.

It's only been a year. We're only just scratching the surface of what David S. Pumpkins means, or will mean.
posted by Flashman at 4:30 PM on October 23, 2017 [10 favorites]


Welp, I just took it...and got David S. Pumpkins, so you may be right.

I got Josh Baskin from Big. I accept that.
posted by lagomorphius at 4:32 PM on October 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


I was not convinced until the end of the sketch and I was like. Yeah. this, this is better than anything Belushi did.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:14 PM on October 23, 2017


I had done the quiz and gotten David Pumpkins before I made my original guess. I guess the trick is to just be your own thing.
posted by ckape at 5:19 PM on October 23, 2017


Got DSP; changing relationship status on various social media to "part of it."
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:37 PM on October 23, 2017 [3 favorites]


"Part OF IT!"
posted by Windopaene at 6:43 PM on October 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


Despite my podcast pals Luke & Andrew having discussed this a lot at some point last year, I have never watched it until now. It's actually very very funny. Thank you.
posted by hippybear at 8:59 PM on October 23, 2017


"I don’t know why we assumed Tom Hanks would know how to break-dance" might be the best one-sentence short story I've read in a long time.
posted by MrBadExample at 9:44 PM on October 23, 2017 [14 favorites]


Everyone who's anyone will be dressing as Dougie Jones from Twin Peaks this year.
posted by Damienmce at 7:03 AM on October 24, 2017


This is exactly the type of SNL sketch that I can't stand and find painful to watch.

That's fair. I found it funny but not deserving of the classic status that yes, I agree, has been bestowed. I'm also rolling my eyes pretty hard at the remarks from Bobby Moynihan—who was funny when he first joined SNL but quickly nosedived—that this sketch was "the most I’ve ever rehearsed for anything on the show" and "it was definitely the most present I’ve been for a sketch." [I'm sure that's true, buddy, and it's exactly why you're terrible. Good luck with those ratings.]

A few years back, somebody at SNL made a conscious decision to dump recurring characters and actually try to write real sketches, not just a plug-and-play formula of stuff for Molly Shannon to fall into. It was fantastic. It was some of the best writing from SNL in years, maybe decades. They're still mostly doing that (although they can't resist recycling some of Kate McKinnon's ideas), so I'm more willing to accept stuff like David Pumpkins—because if you're trying to write a completely new show every week, then yeah, not every sketch is going to be amazeballs. It was funny. Mostly, Tom Hanks sold it.
posted by cribcage at 7:13 AM on October 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Last year, as I was packing to go on a trip, my wife stole my phone and changed her ringtone to the David Pumpkins dance music. I still haven't changed it back.

HIS OWN THING.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:19 AM on October 24, 2017 [11 favorites]


"This is exactly the type of SNL sketch that I can't stand and find painful to watch."

What is it that bugs you about it?

I'd normally be on board with the "can't be classic when it's only been a year," but with this one and its immediate adoption into the zeitgeist, I think it's probably true.

(I'm also baffled at the assertion that Moynihan "nosedived." I mean, there's no pleasing some people.)
posted by uberchet at 1:20 PM on October 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


Ya know, this sketch just makes me giggle. Watching it, thinking about - I giggle. It's weird, it's silly, it's extremely quotable.

My favorite part is that I heard elsewhere Tom Hanks was really not into it until the last minute - but he went for it. You might even say he went all in on David Pumpkins.

Runner-up for my favorite part is Bobby Moynihan saying "Ready or not, here we ... DANCE???" with that look on his face. It's just so perfectly silly.

But also, looking back at that Fanfare thread, I can't believe this was the same episode as the Black Jeopardy with Tom Hanks, which is also so freaking good - but also kind of a bummer to watch in our current slow-rolling apocalypse.
posted by lunasol at 1:41 PM on October 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. cribcage, if you like or dislike something, go ahead and say that rather than some backhanded thing destined to create a confused fight.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:43 AM on October 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


Quite recently I read an in depth interview of Hanks and for the first time I really thought I had got the guy and really understood his work.

And now I've just discovered David Pumpkins. And I realise I know nothing.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:00 PM on October 26, 2017



And now I've just discovered David Pumpkins. And I realise I know nothing.


Relax. David S. Pumpkins is his own thing.
posted by nubs at 2:48 PM on October 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


and the skeletons are...?
posted by entropicamericana at 2:49 PM on October 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Probably underpaid and underappreciated.
posted by nubs at 3:00 PM on October 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


Or, $20 SAIT.
posted by nubs at 3:04 PM on October 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh, so Peter Dinklage isn't reprising his Space Pants role. I was hoping for some kind of Jonathan Comets vs. David S. Pumpkins throwdown. Oh well.
posted by homunculus at 11:42 PM on October 28, 2017


I made pancakes for the family this morning, and then introduced myself as David S. Pancakes when I served them.
posted by nubs at 8:27 AM on October 29, 2017 [6 favorites]


I really liked the special and I hope they run it every year in perpetuity. Also I hope nobody burns down their house putting raisins in their jack o' lantern.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:01 AM on October 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


That opener with Barack was bittersweet.

Mostly bitter.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:14 AM on October 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think my favorite part was the song so scary it'll make you pee your pants.
posted by Ruki at 11:28 AM on October 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


10:34 pm is when the magic ends.
posted by nubs at 11:42 AM on October 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


“David S. Pumpkins: the Paul Blart of Halloween,” Bethy Squires, Splitsider, 30 October 2017
posted by ob1quixote at 2:16 PM on October 30, 2017


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