A group of grown men started blubbering over a teen’s heartbreak ballad in SNL’s “Drivers License,” a standout sketch from the NBC comedy show’s Feb. 20 episode.
In the hilarious bit, cast members Kenan Thompson, Beck Bennett, Pete Davidson, Alex Moffat, Mikey Day, Bowen Yang, Kate McKinnon and guest host Regé-Jean Page (of Bridgerton fame) rave over the Olivia Rodrigo song that has spent five weeks at No. 1 of the Billboard Hot 100 now.
The song “Drivers License” puts an end to the guys’ pool-hall posturing.
As the sketch starts, a group of guys are exchanging taunts at a pool hall as Regé-Jean’s character makes a selection on the jukebox. “Hey, easy, boys,” he says. “I’ll take all your money by the end of the night. Just me play my song first.”
But as the track plays, the guys forget all about the billiards. They still keep up their machismo, though, trying not to let on how much the song affects them. “It’s about a girl getting her driver’s license, but it’s bittersweet because it’s something she and her ex always talked about it,” Beck says, before trying to save face. “That’s what I guessed based on hearing it for the first time right now.”
Alex responds: “Yeah, sure, sure, sure, if you wanna get all literal, but I think I overheard on the news or something that it’s actually about the kids from High School Musical? I don’t know.”
“High School Musical: The Series,” Regé-Jean clarifies. “Olivia wrote about Joshua Bassett who’s allegedly now with Sabrina Carpenter.”
”Why is this hitting me so hard?”
And it isn’t long before the guys are getting emotional over the song lyrics. “It’s like she ripped a page out of my diary,” Beck says. “I mean, notebook! I mean, plain brown leather – I can’t read or write!”
And then Kate, in character as an elderly man with wild gray hair and an impressive mustache, says, “I got my driver’s license 55 years ago. Why is this hitting me so hard?”
Finally, the guys stop with the pretenses and rave about the music, debating whether Olivia is the next Taylor Swift or the next Billie Eilish and observing how pain can be “creatively generative.” (“Yeah, like, remember when I lost 50 g’s on the Giants?” Kenan says. “That gave me, like, half my poems.”)
But Kate’s character asks them to shut up, open their hearts, and listen. “We’re about to get the bridge of our lives,” she says. And then the guys launch into a group singalong.
The sketch riffs on the public’s fixation on the song’s lyrics.
As Regé-Jean explained to his characters’ bros on SNL, “Drivers License” is indeed speculated to be about Olivia’s relationship and breakup with Joshua Bassett — one of her costars on the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series — and his reported relationship with fellow Disney star Sabrina Carpenter.
But Olivia downplayed the rumored drama in a Billboard interview in January, saying, “I totally understand people’s curiosity with the specifics of who the song’s about and what it’s about, but to me, that’s really the least important part of the song. It’s resonating with people because of how emotional it is, and I think everything else is not important.”