The only thing these four disparate stars had in common going into this sketch was that they were guests on Jimmy Fallon's latest live installment of "The Tonight Show." After this sketch went off the rails, though, they'll be able to say they went through hell together and came out the other side mostly unscathed.
To say it was a disaster is to say that the Titanic was a minor mishap at sea. This was an absolute trainwreck from beginning to end, though that was at least partially by design. It all came down to the premise of cold reading lines none of them had seen before. And you can imagine what happened.
As you might expect from comedy writers, knowing that their unwitting subjects would be forced to read their dialogue no matter what they put on there on live television, they really pushed the envelope in every way possible. It was more random, more disturbing, more provocative and more stupid than almost any sketch Jimmy Fallon has done.
And it worked because of all of those things, and because Fallon, Moore, Hartley and Ronson were really committed to trying to make this parody of 1990s local lawyer commercials work, even with the stupid things they had to say.
"I once got my penis stuck in a pool filter," Ronson said with a laugh at one point. "The paramedics didn't show up for three months. It was the best summer of my life."
While a lot of the content stayed within the confines of something you might expect in an exaggerated parody of a law commercial, lines like that just took it to a whole other level.
To make it even harder, each of them had their back to the camera, doing a dramatic turn right before the reading. That meant they wouldn't see the dialogue until the moment they had to read it.
Moore seemed to have the most difficulty with this, though at one point it was clear she was struggling to even see what was there. It didn't help that her brain was trying to be helpful by logically filling in the blanks. That's how she said "hungry for justice" (which makes sense) instead of "hungry for food" (which, not so much).
A couple of times she could be heard looking for clarification as to how the next part of the bit was going to go. They probably should have cut her mics for those moments, but somehow production problems still seemed like the least of this sketch's worries. We're still laughing at Hartley spinning around and his glasses flying off his face.
Or the fact that his first lines were genuine nonsense phrasing like "I doesn't do words good" and "you hires me to do's good job for you, please."
You can check out just a few of our favorite lines here, but it's really worth watching the whole thing to see just how off the rails a sketch can go and still be funny:
"One time I got my hand stuck in a Pringles can for 20 minutes. I sued Pringles for $10 million and lost and I'd do the same for you, guaranteed!"
"If you can't reach us, leave your name and a callback number. We won't call you back, but we will text you nudes."
"I dropped acid 15 minutes ago ... ... ... uh-oh."
Also, can we lobby for "The Tonight Show" to always be live? There's something really fresh and exciting about the live format for a late-night talk show like this. This sketch alone should be a strong argument for it.