Pete Davidson took on the daunting task of explaining what an NFT is on this week's Saturday Night Live episode. Davidson led a parody of Eminem's "Without Me" music video, along with Chris Redd and musical guest Jack Harlow. The pre-recorded skit still left many viewers with questions.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been in the headlines all week, and SNL took them on in a digital skit set in a classroom. Kate McKinnon played Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, discussing economics with a bored-looking class. When she asked for questions, the first hand in the air was Davidson's — wrapped in a Robin costume just like Eminem's in the original "Without Me" music video. He began to rap about NFT's in jargon-heavy rhymes.
Davidson then handed it off to Redd, dressed as Morpheus from The Matrix, who provided another verse about the complicated cryptocurrency trend. Finally, musical guest Harlow entered the room dressed as a janitor, putting his own spin on the topic.
The characters themselves admitted that none of these clever rhymes helped them understand NFTs much better. NFTs are a relatively new trend in the realm of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Instead of representing money, they can represent forms of art or collectibles, with each token being a unique digital item that can't be copied.
The SNL skit joins an endless barrage of articles and videos trying to explain NFTs to laymen in recent weeks. According to a report by The Verge, the simplest way to look at this phenomenon might be as an evolution of fine art collecting, but in the digital realm. However, there are also some serious doubts about whether the trend will stick around, and whether it actually should, considering the immense cost of emissions created by blockchain technology.
As for the Eminem angle, it seems to have been chosen because it left so much room for catchy rhymes about NFTs. This is not the first time Davidson has done a parody of Eminem — earlier this season, he starred in another digital sketch based on Eminem's music video for "Stan" called "Stu."
It's also not the first time someone has tried to use rap music to explain blockchain. In a segment on cryptocurrencies three years ago, John Oliver drew attention to Chris Record's now-infamous music video "Hodl Gang." Commenters seem to agree that this is not the best form to explain the new technology in.
This weekend's Saturday Night Live is available to stream on Peacock or Hulu, and individual sketches are now on YouTube. The show will be back on Saturday, April 4 at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Next week's host is actor Daniel Kaluuya with musical guest St. Vincent.