Oscar the Grouch gets the 'Joker' treatment in David Harbour's 'Saturday Night Live' parody

<em>Stranger Things</em> star David Harbour hosted <em>Saturday Night Live</em> on Oct. 12. (Photo: Will Heath/NBC)
Stranger Things star David Harbour hosted Saturday Night Live on Oct. 12. (Photo: Will Heath/NBC)

He’s by far the grittiest character on Sesame Street, but is Oscar the Grouch ready for the Joker treatment?

Saturday Night Live’s Oct. 12 episode saw the moody Muppet starring in a fake film trailer parodying Joker’s dark anti-hero origin story. The fictional Grouch — “from director Todd Phillips and the writer of P is for Potty!,” a narrator intones — sees this week’s host, Stranger Things star David Harbour, playing a grumpy, trash-fetishizing garbage man who bemoans the “hookers and pimps on every corner” of, yes, Sesame Street.

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Sure enough, Kenan Thompson’s Snuffleupagus appears as a tough-talking pimp laying down the law for Prairie Dawn, while Ernie gets slashed trying to protect his rubber duckie from a mugger, much to pal Bert’s horror. The Count turns to drugs, Big Bird starts stripping, Cookie Monster panhandles and Elmo gets hauled into a cop car.

It all makes Oscar ... “grouchy.”

“If everyone calls you trash, everyone treats you like trash, why don’t you just become trash?” Harbour’s Oscar explains to his therapist as a montage shows him painting himself green, hoisting a black garbage bag over his shoulder and stepping into a bin.

“Brought to you by the letter ‘R,’” the parody mimics Joaquin Phoenix’s transformation from downtrodden Arthur Fleck into the Joker, complete with a shimmy down a staircase and a jazzy suit. But while Joker continues to dominate the box office, Grouch sadly won’t see the light of day — unless Phillips feels inspired? With apologies to Harbour, “stranger things” have happened.

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