Artist Gives SNL’s ‘Anomalous Man’ the See ‘n Say Treatment

When inspiration strikes artist Derek Eads, he’ll “run with it.” And this week, that creative spark came in the form of Saturday Night Live’s “The Anomalous Man.”

The black-and-white short set in Victorian London features Ms. Emily (host/musical guest Dua Lipa), a beautiful young woman who attends a play and is so moved by the writing that she requests to meet the writer. “I feel like our souls are one,” she explains, before being warned that she may be “shocked” by his appearance. 

She’s introduced to the playwright, Peter (Sarah Sherman), who sits alone in the dark and describes himself as “a monster.” But Miss Emily is smitten, and boldly takes him into her home and her bed… which is when she hears his phone(s) blowing up with texts from other women. “Wash that ass,” “I’m trying to show you what this snout do,” and “Your butt, my face 🙏” are among the choicest missives she’s able to read—and just the kind of absurd juxtaposition that Eads loves.

On Wednesday, Eads posted his own tribute to the sketch to his Instagram: a black-and-white illustration of a See ‘n Say-like version of a phonograph, being held by Peter’s hand/hoof and featuring some of the sketch’s most quotable moments.

Derek Eads (via Instagram)

“I wish I had it written down, but I remember someone describing my work as a combination of cute and gross (or something along those lines), and I think I’ve leaned into that,” Eads tells LateNighter. “What made ‘The Anomalous Man’ so funny was that earnest first few minutes before it dove into full comedy. It just clicked for me.”

It’s not the first piece of SNL art Eads has created. In December, he sent up a sketch about “Pongo”—the perfect gift for any kid asking for a puppy for Christmas.

“The obvious connection between the two sketches would be Sarah Sherman,” says Eads. “I’m trying to avoid falling into that ‘SNL isn’t funny anymore’ way of thinking and luckily there are so many talented cast members that make it easy to still love the show.”

Derek Eads (via Instagram)

Eads has spent most of his life drawing, “but started pursuing it as a possible career in the summer of 2010. I had befriended a few bands I was a fan of and started doing gig posters, T-shirts, and covers for them,” he explains. “But, being a huge movie nerd, I would also constantly do illustrations of movies or actors I liked. That eventually led to contributing to group art shows at Gallery1988 and a few others.”

The work of Wes Anderson and Bill Murray has been of particular interest to him, and he found some viral fame via “an illustration of Steve Zissou that just took off. For years, I’d even see photos of people that got it tattooed. Something like that is such a motivational and creative boost.”

But when it comes to SNL, Eads does have an all-time favorite cast member: Gilda Radner. “I did a few illustrations [of her] when I first started, so looking back on them… not my best work. I need to do some new ones.”

For right now, he says he’s just looking forward to the 50th season.

View more Derek Eads’ artwork on his Instagram,

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