In the world of Dune, the Fremen people of the planet Arrakis worship the great sandworms of their planets as gods. Sometimes called “the maker” and other times, Shai-Hulud, the sandworm is both the bringer of life and the destroyer of everything in Dune. This is also true of our world, in which a popcorn bucket shaped like the mouth of a giant sandworm has broken the sanity of everyone, and also given the world the greatest and most hilarious gift since Lucasfilm marketed an edible Jar-Jar Binks tongue candy in 1999.
In the February 4 episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Ayo Edebiri, the spoof song centered on the Dune popcorn bucket easily dominated the entire show. Or, if you’re obsessed with Dune like we are, and you have a healthy sense of humor about its absurdity, then this sketch seemed practically made for a certain type of audience member. Yes, the internet lost their collective minds over the seemingly unreal gauche-ness of the Dune popcorn bucket, but SNL took things to the next hyperbolic level.
Featuring Marcello Hernández taking lead vocals, “Dune Popcorn Bucket,” imagines teens and tweens — played by Ayo Edebiri, Bowen Yang, Devon Walker, and Chloe Troast — all wanting to get intimate with this…suggestive popcorn bucket. This joke is great because it mocks the weirdness of the popcorn bucket itself, but also, perhaps on accident, makes a hilarious commentary on young people reading Dune itself.
For those who read the book — or watched the 1984 or 2000 movie versions — when they were in their teens, this sketch probably hits home. Dune introduces young people to all sorts of bizarre sexual imagery, right alongside its excellent critique of power structures, and strong ecological messages. To put it another way, you can’t really grow up to be a thoughtful person without the weirdness of Dune, even if it doesn’t get as gross as this hilarious song implies.