Kid Cudi wearing a white floral dress in a tribute to Kurt Cobain while singing into a microphone on SNL.

Saturday Night Live is simultaneously a commentary on the now and given its almost fifty year run, a celebration of the past. It’s like a famed university. Everywhere you look there are signs of great people that came before, but what’s being currently produced is directly relevant to the now. That strange and beautiful dynamic was on full display last night from Kid Cudi as the musician and actor performed two songs off his new album Man On The Moon III and found a way to pay tribute to two deceased entertainment legends: Kurt Cobain and Chris Farley.

The Kurt Cobain tributes came in the form of outfit choses honoring the beloved Nirvana frontman who passed in 1994. During his performance of “Sad People”, Kid Cudi rocked a white floral print dress with spaghetti straps that looks a whole lot like one Cobain wore a year or so before his death. Obviously a lot of fans couldn’t get enough of the look given its connection to the rock legend and its seeming endorsement and acceptance of free expression and gender fluidity.

In addition to the dress, which got the bulk of the social media attention, Kid Cudi also wore a green sweater with a white t-shirt underneath during his performance of “Tequila Shots.” The visual style is very close to what Cobain wore during his famous MTV Unplugged performance along with his Nirvana bandmates. They ran through fourteen songs in one take, including several covers and lesser known tracks, in what’s considered by many to be one of the greatest live albums of all-time. You can check out side-by-sides of the outfit choices thanks to Twitter user Zen below…

Of course if you look closely under Kid Cudi’s green sweater, that’s not the only tribute to a pop culture legend who died way too soon. The white t-shirt underneath is a headshot of Saturday Night Live legend Chris Farley who tragically passed away in 1997. The head nod is a lot more direct than the fashion inspirations he took from Cobain, but then again, Farley was a much more direct and on the nose person. That can also be seen in a tweet Kid Cudi dropped last night that looks like a sign on the SNL stage telling people to watch their heads that has “Farley” handwritten afterwards.

So many legends have passed through the Saturday Night Live halls. Many of the most important comedians of the last five decades from Eddie Murphy to Bill Murray to Will Ferrell to Tina Fey to Adam Sandler to Kristen Wiig got their starts on SNL (and many keep returning), and at the same time, so many brilliant actors and musicians have guested on the show at the heights of their popularity. Some huge stars have even returned over and over again. It really is simultaneously a celebration of the now and a tribute to the past. I love seeing guests on the show who really seem to get that, and Kid Cudi is clearly one of them.

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