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Ariana Grande and Bowen Yang's Moulin Rouge SNL Sketch Should Be a Feature Film

The friends and Wicked co-stars tapped major comedic chemistry performing a song medley on the March 9 Saturday Night Live episode. 

By Samantha Vincenty

As a former star of Nickelodeon sitcoms and the Broadway stage before she launched a massive pop career, it's no secret that Ariana Grande possesses major presence beyond her gorgeous singing voice. And as those who've seen her past sketch work (and astounding celebrity impressions) on Saturday Night Live know, Grande can also be really, really funny. Viewers were treated to two sketch appearances from the "We Can't Be Friends" singer when she returned to SNL as musical guest on March 9—the standout being a musical collaboration with her friend and Wicked co-star Bowen Yang

How to Watch

Watch Saturday Night Live Saturdays at 11:30/10:30c on NBC and next day on Peacock.  

The "Moulin Rouge" sketch finds Grande and Yang performing as Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in the 2001 Baz Lurhmann movie, in a "lost" clip resurfaced in a PBS program called Movie Musical Masterpieces. 

RELATED: Ariana Grande Performs "Imperfect for You" and "We Can't Be Friends" on Saturday Night Live

"The film's crown jewel is the 'Elephant Love Medley,' which strung together ten popular love songs, like "All You Need Is Love," and "I Will Always Love You," the show's host (Mikey Day) explains. "But what you don't know is that the original medley was much, much longer, since they didn't know what songs they could get the rights to."

"Just to be safe, they tried many more that have never been seen," he continues. "Take a look." 

Ariana Grande poses in a grey dress.

Ariana Grande and Bowen Yang team up for a hilarious Moulin Rouge! medley on SNL

Yang and Grande take it from there, as they put on their best Australian-slash-British accents to assume the lead roles of Christian and Satine. They soon break into song, launching a very Moulin Rouge! medley, interrupted only by Host Josh Brolin's character, who is eager to share his newfound French (aka the lyrics to "Lady Marmalade" as sung on the film's soundtrack). 

RELATED: What Ariana Grande's New Single "We Can't Be Friends" Actually Means

In a bit of rapid-fire musical chemistry reminiscent of classic SNL sketches like Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer's The Culps and Jan Hooks and Nora Dunn's Sweeney Sisters, Yang and Grande perform a seamless song medley that includes everything from TLC's "Creep" to "The Wheels on the Bus."

The funniest bit may be their tendency to slide into the "Happy Birthday song," which causes Yang and Grande to nearly break as they sing into each other's eyes. 

"They knew they could get the rights to 'Happy Birthday,' so they fell back on that a lot," Day's Host explains, as we then experience what seems to be a lyric from Barenaked Ladies' "One Week" crashing into the Oasis song "Wonderwall." Oof. 

The capper, of course, is the fact that Grande's vocals sound incredible throughout the intentionally-corny medley. Watch SNL's "Moulin Rouge" sketch above. 

Bowen and Grande also had a moment playing two group therapy members engaging in some roleplay during the night's earlier "People Pleaser Support Group" sketch.

People Pleaser Support Group

Ariana Grande and Bowen Yang got to know each other filming Wicked 

Ariana Grande and Bowen Yang during a sketch on saturday night live episode 1858

Both Grande and Yang spent part of 2023, and then 2024, filming Wicked, director Jon M. Chu's two-part film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical. In it, Grande plays "good witch" Glinda, while Yang plays Glinda's friend Pfannee.

RELATED: Cynthia Erivo on Singing with Ariana Grande in Wicked: "She's Got a Family Member for Life Now"

The two share brief screentime together in the teaser trailer for Wicked: Part One, which debuted during the Super Bowl: 

Like Wicked costar Cynthia Erivo, Yang has appeared on Grande's Instagram grid, having grown friendly during filming. Grande also shared an adorable picture of herself and Yang hugging backstage during SNL, in a March 10 photo set captioned "thank you SNL."