During his fifth SNL hosting appearance, actor/writer/director/2018 style icon Jonah Hill brought back a character he’s played a few times in the past: six-year-old, joke-spewing Benihana connoisseur Adam Grossman. This character is basically a middle aged insult comic in a little kid’s body, and he’s got plenty of groan-worthy jokes about his nanny (played by Leslie Jones), their dining companions (Kenan Thompson and Mikey Day), and the Teppanyaki chef (Heidi Gardner) this time around.
Since the last time Grossman appeared on SNL, his parents got divorced, but the kid seems to be handling it okay, telling that table, “Oh, don’t feel bad for me, I’m getting every kid’s dream — two Hanukkahs!” When his nanny orders a glass of wine, Grossman quips, “Okay, so I guess I’m driving home!” And when the chef botches the first shrimp toss, the kid remarks, ”No offense, Gail, but I haven’t been this disappointed since I found out there is a Santa Claus and he wants nothing to do with me.” The funniest part of this sketch, though, is watching Jones try not to crack up as Grossman keeps spewing all these hacky jokes.
On Late Night With Seth Meyers earlier this week, Hill revealed that Grossman is based on a real kid that SNL veteran Bill Hader sat next to at a Benihana location years ago. “He didn’t know if it was a forty-year-old man or six-year-old kid, because he had a velour track suit on,” Hill told Myers. While the other diners at the table applauded at the teppanyaki chef’s tricks, the real life Adam Grossman apparently just turned his head to one side and pounded on the table with the palm of his hand. Hader developed this character as a sort of “Tony Soprano” type, but Hill says he “started doing him as like a Catskills comedian,” and that’s what stuck.
Watch the new SNL sketch in the clip above, and check out the origin story below.