One of the most unexpected sketches to come out of Keegan-Michael Key’s episode of SNL was a pre-taped parody that just may sit at the top, or at least near the top, of the Heidi Gardner Hall of Fame for eternity. Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the end of ESPN’s Michael Jordan docuseries The Last Dance, and while at first glance that might not be the most compelling reason for SNL to do an “extended scene” parody of it so late, Gardner’s performance as the series’s fan favorite, Jordan security guard John Michael Wozniak, is so damn good that we now demand she get a special Emmy Award for it immediately.
In the sketch — which is rounded out with appearances by Chris Redd as Dennis Rodman, Alex Moffat as Phil Jackson, and Kenan Thompson as Charles Barkley — Heidi’s Wozniak is subjected to progressively more and more demanding bets from Jordan while they play that game with quarters, and Jordan’s unquenchable ambition to win no matter what was depicted with perfect cruelty by Key: “He won. I was happy for him. But then he did that little shrug, and I took that personally.” It’s equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, with a magical dynamic between the heartless Key and helpless Gardner. It’s a tour de force for all involved, but Gardner’s performance especially made it worth the year-long wait.