The Looney Tunes are set to make a big screen comeback this summer with the release of Space Jam 2. The long awaited sequel is expected to feature a majority of the classic characters, but we know at least one will be left on the cutting room floor: Pepe Le Pew. The sexually persistent and problematic skunk was officially cut from the movie; so, naturally, Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon dressed up as the black and white menace to complain in a hilarious sketch that ran last night.
The appearance was part of a larger bit called “Oops You Did It Again.” The fake talk show, hosted by Britney Spears, brought on guests with PR issues to talk about what’s going on, allowing the pop star to decide whether they’re innocent or not that innocent. This week’s guests included musician Lil Nas X, scandal-plagued politician Matt Gaetz and McKinnon’s Pepe Le Pew. You can check out the hilarity below…
Kate McKinnon is always great at half-smiling just often enough for the crowd to know she’s in on the joke but not often enough to actually break character Jimmy Fallon style (at least not usually). You can see that subtle amusement throughout the entire sketch, as she’s clearly aware of how utterly ridiculous she probably looks in the skunk costume. There are quite a laughs to be had during her performance, but I especially love the bit where Pepe Le Pew actually explains what he was going to do in the movie...
Every good basketball film needs a horny skunk, that much we all know. So, my part was Ok, get this, I see a basketball in a blond wig. I make love to it for 10 to 15 minutes before LeBron James taps me on the shoulder and says, 'Bro, that’s a basketball.' Not my finest moment in cinema but it made the crew laugh so.
Of course that’s not actually what Pepe Le Pew was going to do in Space Jam 2 before his scene got cut. His appearance was reportedly going to be a play on Casablanca. LeBron James and Bugs Bunny were apparently set to visit a bar Le Pew runs. He was to be seen kissing a woman’s arm before getting a drink poured on him. Later dialogue was allegedly going to reveal Penelope, the usual object of his affection in the Looney Tunes cartoons, got a restraining order against him. There was also reportedly to be some conversation around consent and his lack of boundaries.
Space Jam 2 went through a lot of behind the scenes changes over the years. The sequel was originally planned to star Michael Jordan after the huge box office performance, but the Chicago Bulls star reportedly wasn’t interested in coming back. Other versions were at one point or another conceived around a variety of celebrities and athletes including Tiger Woods, Tony Hawk, Jackie Chan and Jeff Gordon. Eventually the LeBron James version started generating momentum, but both the sequel's original director and cinematographer left the project prior to production and amidst all the changes, the script was reworked and the Pepe Le Pew scene reportedly dropped.
Space Jam 2 is finally set to be released on July 16th, and we even have a trailer. It’ll be available in both theaters and on HBO Max for its first thirty days. We haven’t gotten a full list of which characters will appear yet, but we’re definitely going to get most of the classics including Bugs, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig and Marvin The Martian, as well as other classic Warner Bros characters. Lola Bunny will also return, though there has been much conversation around her appearance after animators chose to give her a less sexualized look. Thankfully Pepe Le Pew won’t be around to offer any of his opinions on her new look as we all know they would have been gross.