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Please Don’t Destroy Is Not the New Lonely Island

Ranking the new comedy troupe’s SNL sketches so far.

Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy, members of the Please Don't Destroy comedy trio
Arin Sang-urai

It’s easy to draw comparisons between the two comedy trios, and many have been calling Please Don’t Destroy Saturday Night Live’s “successor” to The Lonely Island—which is still an active musical-comedy troupe, comprised of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone—but PDD has, in only a couple months, proved that their approach to comedy is different.

Not necessarily better than The Lonely Island (their 2007 “Dear Sister” short will go down in history as the catalyst for our generation’s absurdist humor, mark my words), but PDD’s sketches have so far been fresh, quick-witted, and only slightly unhinged, designed for an audience accustomed to the short, wild landscape of comedy available on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

But PDD's not sacrificing their quality for their pacing—a lesson that SNL desperately needs to learn—as they bring content that’s reminiscent of old-school YouTube to the silver screen.

But what is Please Don’t Destroy?

Martin Herlihy, John Higgins, and Ben Marshall, writers on SNL and the three members of PDD, seemingly popped up on everyone’s radar a few weeks ago, when their first SNL digital short “Hard Seltzer” went modestly viral. Since then, there’s been about one PDD short airing every week on SNL, and—based on the overwhelmingly positive response in the media and in their videos’ YouTube comments—it looks like this group is poised to become a staple in SNL’s line-up.

YouTube comments on PDD's "Hard Seltzer" sketch.

And, frankly, this might be just what SNL needs. The show has a bad track record of recognizing talent (masters of painfully awkward comedy, Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett’s sketches were constantly relegated to SNL’s “Cut for Time” void), but it seems like they’re attempting to make amends for past mistakes by carving out a niche in the program for PDD to shine.

That being said, PDD has released five banger shorts so far, with hopefully more to come following SNL’s current mid-season break, so let’s have some fun and rank them! If you’ve literally never heard of Please Don’t Destroy before, or if you’re an SNL hater, then here’s your chance to familiarize yourself with some of the hidden talent on the show (there’s only a tiny bit of Pete Davidson in this list, I promise).

5. “Calling Angie”

Don’t get me wrong—this short still slaps. The fast cuts, the emotional bait-and-switch throughout the whole video, and the increasingly horrified expressions on Ben, Martin, and John’s faces as they try to talk to Angie are all *chef’s kiss*. This sketch flashes by so fast that even on my third watch I was still picking out hilarious lines that I missed the first time around (“What did SHE say?”). But, ultimately, when pitted against PDD’s other shorts from this season, “Calling Angie” earns a solid spot in fifth place.

Underrated moment: When Martin said that he blew it with his ex because he got his penis stuck in her toilet. How does that happen? Why is no one talking about this? In the bowl or in the tank?

4.“Three Sad Virgins (ft. Taylor Swift)”

Yes, that’s right, Taylor Swift and Pete Davidson are in this one. It might be controversial to rank this short so low, but I think PDD is at their best in all their low-key, homemade glory—and this short is their most highly produced by far. Nevertheless, this one is killer, and while Ben, Martin, and John are the butt of the joke, at risk of being outshined by the massive star power in this parody music video, they still manage to steal the show—even from Taylor Swift.

Underrated moment: It’s hard to pick just one, but when John voluntarily offers his cupped hand as Pete’s ashtray, and then continues to stand there nonchalantly holding burning embers—yeah, that shit’s hilarious.

3. “Touch Up”

“Touch Up” showcases PDD’s nuanced take on absurdity. Witnessing this sketch slowly unravel into chaos is highly satisfying, and on the first watch, you don’t see the twists coming. The one-liners, as always, are lightning-quick, and quite possibly the best thing about this sketch (“I love you. You look like you drowned.”). It’s clear that these three are insanely comfortable with each other, and even though the dialogue is scripted, their back-and-forth flows so effortlessly that you’re almost tricked into laughing. And you will laugh.

Underrated moment: When John says, “Oh, my God, we are not making this about my fingers,” while waggling his said terrifyingly long fingers.

2.“Hard Seltzer”

This was PDD’s debut short, and it was a damn good one to debut on. John plays the part of the straight man well, questioning the delusional idea of businesses like JCPenney and Jiffy Lube selling hard seltzers and helping introduce viewers to the now trademark banter that’s present in all PDD videos. If you think your dentist should release a line of hard seltzers with flavors like “Routine Cleaning”, then watch this video.

Underrated moment: I genuinely believe that this whole video is a string of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments, but one that never fails to crack me up is Ben unironically impersonating John by saying, “Who’s this an impression of? Oh, I’m John,” followed by Martin answering, straight-faced, “John.” Comedy gold.

1. “Rami Wants a Treat”

Even if you’re not a fan of Rami Malek (but how could you not be?), this sketch is side-splitting, no matter how many times I watch it. You’ll know you’re in for a *treat* when, straight out the gate, Rami greets John with a cursed fist-bump-handshake monstrosity. “Rami Wants a Treat” is another absurd sketch that quickly devolves into utter madness, but it’s the best kind of chaos. PDD’s patience is tested, guns are drawn, and damn it—just give Mr. Robot a treat already.

Underrated moment: The whole thing. Just watch it. But maybe when John says, “I could hit him,” to which Martin warns, “We promised never.” The missing backstory there makes it all the more hilarious.

Dear Please Don’t Destroy, please keep destroying me with your comedic genius every week. And Lorne Michaels, don’t you dare spoil a good thing. PDD doesn’t deserve to be cut for time.

If you want more PDD, follow them on Instagram or subscribe to their channel on YouTube (although they haven’t uploaded there in a while). And keep an eye out for them once SNL resumes its latest season; the next new episode airs December 11th, with Billie Eilish as the host and musical guest.


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