Please Don’t Destroy is comprised of Martin Herlihy, John Higgins, and Ben Marshall, who formed their comedy group in 2017 at NYU. Now, in their early-to-mid-20s, they find themselves climbing the showbiz ladder at one of the greatest comedic institutions of all time. All three were hired along with seven other writers the week before “Saturday Night Live” kicked off season 47, but it’s clear they’ll be spending time in front of the camera too.
Even if you think this is the first time you’re hearing about this comedy trio, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered their material on social media. Some of their short form sketch comedy has gone viral across Twitter and TikTok. Perhaps their most famous sketch riffed on the COVID-19 vaccine back in March of this year:
I GOT VACCINATED!!! 🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/HASanyAiNh
— Ben Marshall (@notbenmarshall) March 10, 2021
On social media, Please Don’t Destroy’s fast-paced, short form bits have spread like wildfire. Not only do they consistently deliver hilarious sketches, but they’ve gotten a little boost by cast member Heidi Gardner, who first encountered them a couple years ago. Speaking with Vulture, Gardner said:
“Watching them, they reminded me of when I was a teenager, and it was like the first time I saw [the sketch group] Stella or the first time I saw Jack Black. And I was just like, ‘Holy s**t. I could watch this all night long.’ I almost felt embarrassed of how much of a fan I quickly became.”
She’s not the only one; Patton Oswalt has been retweeting the sketches they’ve been posting on Twitter too. One of my personal favorites is this one imagining a video game where you’re playing through the celebrity life of actress Shailene Woodley:
Playing the new Shailene game pic.twitter.com/yl2fU8wuWz
— Martin Herlihy (@martinmherlihy) May 26, 2021
Though their online efforts have a low budget, home video feel, “Saturday Night Live” has brought Please Don’t Destroy into the high-definition arena, but without losing their overall vibe. Their sketches, especially on social media, carry some flairs of “I Think You Should Leave” mixed with the oddity of Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett’s work. But they also have a certain fast and loose, off-the-wall element that makes them stand out. That’s mostly because they’ve been creating content that is intended for the short attention spans of those on TikTok and Twitter, but if there’s one thing “SNL” needs help with, it’s knowing when to end a sketch and not overstay its welcome.