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Willem Dafoe's SNL "Dog Show" Sketch Honors the Hard-to-Love Pups in Our Lives

The Kinds of Kindness star and Aidy Bryant judge a group of "biters, barkers, humpers and shakers" in this hilarious Westminster Dog Show parody. 

By Samantha Vincenty

While competitions like the National Dog Show showcase impeccably-groomed canines on their best behavior, the furry friends adopted from shelters and procured from pet stores sometimes can be a bit...quirkier. And anyone who's been the owner of a challenging pup will appreciate Saturday Night Live's Badminster Dog Show, a celebration of the "biters, barkers, humpers, and shakers" who make life so sweet (while keeping the couch and carpet so, so dirty).  

How to Watch

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

Willem Dafoe played fictional dog show host Judas Chrysler opposite Aidy Bryan's Miriam Jeans in the "Dog Show" sketch from the Kinds of Kindness star's January 29, 2022 episode. SNL is no stranger to using real dogs in live sketches, and the challenge of working with animals in realtime was leveraged to particularly great effect here. As Dafoe's Chrysler tells the audience, "this show celebrates those canine freaks who prevent owners from having company, or intimacy. Today is for them."

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"Dogs: they're just like us," Bryant's character declares. "Some of them bite kids!"

Willem Dafoe and Aidy Bryant during the Dog Show sketch on SNL Episode 1817

Willem Dafoe celebrates "canine freaks" in SNL's Badminster Dog Show sketch 

Coming at you from the "Cujo Arena," the hosts are ready to introduce a dog from the "shaking" group of competitors. But first, they introduce judges Jane Bosworth (Kate McKinnon) and Mickey Bosworth (Punkie Johnson).

"They run a desert-based dog ranch that's either an animal rescue, or a hoarding situation," Bryant's Miriam Jeans explains, as we meet the adorable Luna.

"Now, Luna hates the sound 'beep,' and if she hears it, she will try and climb up to your hair," Jeans says, as her owner (Melissa Villaseñor) shows off the little white pooch. "For her, the Fourth of July is a war, and the only safe space is behind the toilet." 

Next up, from "the mean group": Meet Pigeon the beagle. Though the dog playing Pigeon nuzzles McKinnon and seems like a dream IRL, Dafoe's character announces that "Pigeon is a sexual predator who has been banned from every dog park in the state of Maryland."

"The vet called him 'not welcome here,' and the groomer called him 'manipulative,'" Miriam Jeans adds.

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Kate McKinnon, Punkie Johnson, and Andrew Dismukes during the Dog Show sketch on SNL Episode 1817

As for Pigeon's routine, "he wakes me up at 5:00 a.m. by biting my feet. Then, he goes in the hamper, grabs my girlfriend's underwear, drags it under the dining room table and barks aggressively," his owner (Andrew Dismukes) shares. 

You can't choose your family, but you can choose the dog who joins your family....often after meeting them for just a few brief minutes. "When we first got him, he was so quiet. Turns out he was just traumatized," Pigeons owner continues. "This is bad to say, but I miss that version of him."

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It's a crowded field, but only one dog can take home the "Golden Bathroom Trash, along with a lifetime supply of buffalo chicken bones from the sidewalk," host Jeans says before crowning the champ.

Watch Willem Dafoe's "Dog Show" sketch above, and stream every season of Saturday Night Live on Peacock anytime.