clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

SNL’s version of the Momo meme is equally terrifying

Kate McKinnon is Bok Bok, a nightmare

Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

The meme lifespan goes something like this: an obscure post somewhere on the corner of the internet, a savvy user on a different platform yanking the image and reposting, the right account broadcasting the newly minted creation, more retweets, frenzy, remixing, a little dose of parental outrage and fear, a Kim Kardashian retweet, a national news cycle trying to unpack what the hell just happened, and then a Saturday Night Live sketch.

So let’s pop the champagne: the 2019 Momo explosion may finally be over.

This weekend, SNL put Kate McKinnon under some witchy makeup to become a living replica of Momo, the wide-eyed, chicken-legged creature currently at the center of a YouTube hoax. Not familiar? Behold.

Artist Keisuke Aisawa originally made Momo — or as the statue is actually called, “Mother Bird,” — for the Japanese special effects company Link Factory, with the first gallery images cropping up in 2016. Three years later, the horror is at the subject of extreme panic. The rumor goes that Momo started appearing in harmless kids videos to encourage kids to commit suicide. The grim joke escalated thanks to social media, forcing YouTube to address the situation. The company also demonetized any video featuring Momo.

As explains, the “Momo challenge” is another fit of hysteria born from the murkiness of YouTube/internet culture and the immediacy of social media in reacting to the possibility of such an outbreak. Instead of providing proof that the videos were real, the loudest voices on the internet called for action. Life — and Momo — comes at you fast.

The Saturday Night Live spoof is a breath of fresh air after the hammering, think-of-the-children news cycle. What does Momo have to do with a chicken restaurant? Don’t overthink this: Kate McKinnon looks hilarious in the makeup and chicken suit.

Watch the full sketch above and say goodbye to Momo for the time being — at least until three years from now when some random TikTok user swears Momo is hiding in your closest and coming for you next.

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.