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Pedro Pascal & 'SNL' turn 'Mario Kart' into a 'Last of Us'-style apocalyptic drama in hilarious parody

Killer Goombas > Killer Cordyceps

By Josh Weiss
Mario Kart SNL Pedro Pascal NBC PRESS

If we had to choose between killer Goombas and killer Cordyceps, we'd choose the Goombas every time. Saturday Night Live took aim at The Last of Us this weekend during Pedro Pascal's first time as host with a post-apocalyptic parody of the Mario Kart franchise.

Given that the actor has built a successful career playing rugged and cynical characters known for transporting dangerous cargo, it only makes sense that he'd fit snugly into the blue overalls of a jaded version of Nintendo's beloved, pipe-warping plumber. His mission? Brave the dangers of a Last of Us/Mad Max-style apocalypse to get an exiled Princess Peach (Chloe Fineman) to Rainbow Road.

RELATED: Pedro Pascal gets creeped out by a ‘Last of Us’ Clicker in ‘SNL’ hosting preview

It's surprisingly big budget, well-conceived and just cool. We'd watch the hell out of this show ... if it were real, of course. Fortunately, we'll be able to satisfy our Mushroom Kingdom craving when the actual The Super Mario Bros. Movie opens in theaters everywhere this April.

Based on the hit Naughty Dog video game of the same name, The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) video game adaptations ever produced by Hollywood.

The show holds a near-perfect score of 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and averaged over 21 million viewers between its first two episodes ("When You're Lost in the Darkness" and "Infected"). The third installment ("Long, Long Time") drew universal acclaim for its poignant expansion on the characters of Frank (Nick Offerman) and Bill (Murray Bartlett). Critical and audience reactions have been so overwhelmingly positive, in fact, that HBO has already picked up the series for a second season, which will adapt The Last of Us Part II.

"For some HBO shows, you get to shoot in a five-star Italian resort surrounded by beautiful people, but I said, 'No, that's too easy,'" Pascal said in his opening SNL monologue (watch below), playfully throwing some shade on The White Lotus. "[I said]: 'I wanna shoot in a freezing Canadian forest, while being chased around by a guy whose head looks like a genital wart."

He continued: "It is an honor being a part of these huge franchises like Game of Thrones and Star Wars. But I'm still getting used to people recognizing me. The other day, a guy stopped me on the street and said, 'My son loves The Mandalorian!' And the next thing I know, I'm FaceTiming with a six-year-old, who has no idea who I am because my character wears a mask for the entire show."

New episodes of The Last of Us premiere on HBO and HBO Max every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. The hotly-anticipated third season of The Mandalorian premieres on Disney+ Wednesday, March 1.

Saturday Night Live airs on NBC every Saturday evening at 11:30 p.m. ET. The next live episode, airing Feb. 25, is set to be hosted by third-timer Woody Harrelson (Triangle of Sadness, White House Plumbers), who will be joined by musical guest Jack White.

All 48 seasons of SNL are now streaming on Peacock. New episodes air Saturday nights at 11:30 ET, 10:30 CT.