The Saturday Night Live actors nail the Navarro cheer squad
People have been obsessed with the Netflix docuseries Cheer. If you haven’t seen it (what are you waiting for?), the show follows the cheerleading squad of Navarro College for months leading up to their big competition of the year in Daytona. It’s intense, funny, heartbreaking, and dramatic TV all rolled into one, so of course Saturday Night Live had to make a skit about it.
The Navarro-inspired team in the sketch has just days to practice before heading onto the mat where the national cheerleading championships are being held, but they’ve run into a bit of a snag with injuries. Navarro’s head coach Monica Aldama, played by SNL cast member Heidi Gardner, and assistant coach Adam Driver assess the damage to try to figure out who will actually be healthy enough to compete.
“We throw people high, high, high in the air and sometimes we drop, drop, drop them,” Gardner says, nailing Monica’s signature Southern drawl, panning to the ceiling where one poor cheerleader is stuck, legs akimbo.
“I cannot stress this enough, in this sport, it’s the tiny girls’ job to fly and the gay guys must catch them,” she says, which pretty much sums up Navarro’s actual team.
“Y’all gotta prove why you deserve to be on mat at Daytona!” Driver says, which is said about 500 times in the actual Cheer show, to which everyone watching screams “JERRY! Jerry deserves to be on mat!” into their empty living rooms.
They walk through the various injuries, including one blonde girl named Desi (Chloe Fineman), whose ankle “melted” and now smells like soup. “What did you put on it?” Driver asks. “Prayer,” she answers.
It is seriously not possible to watch Cheer and not root for all of them. Many have overcome heartbreaking childhood trauma or consider themselves “misfits” who came together to create a family with Monica’s guidance and support. Plus, these people are serious athletes and it’s incredible to watch them perform.
The video concludes with a Gabi Butler-inspired girl played by Ego Nwodim, giving her reasons for being on mat, saying simply that she’s a “cheer-lebrity.” There are also several more cheerleaders wheeled in with total body casts to ensure Monica that there’s no issue — they will be ready for Daytona. Of course, poor Cooper, played by Kenan Thompson and representing everyone’s favorite cheerleader, Jerry, doesn’t quite make it because he’s “always a maybe” but it doesn’t matter because his attitude is flawless.
Per usual, SNL manages to nail exactly what is good and pure about Cheer, making it impossible to not protest in the streets for another season.