Sunday, November 12, 2023

'Trump' crashes the Republican debate on 'SNL'

I wrote "looking forward to the show already" about last night's Saturday Night Live. The opening lived up to my expectations. Watch Republican Debate Cold Open - SNL.

Lester Holt (Kenan Thompson) moderates the Republican candidates (Chloe Fineman, Ego Nwodim, Molly Kearney, Devon Walker, John Higgins) during a debate before Donald Trump (James Austin Johnson) interrupts.
This sketch recycles the same gimmick as James Austin Johnson's 'Trump' hijacks the Last Supper on 'SNL' for Easter, but it worked then and it worked again, so this environmentalist approves. In fact, I think it was more effective this time, because Trump's absence from the stage really was the elephant in the room, so having him crash the debate was an appropriate comic choice. It gave James Austin Johnson the opportunity to tell a lot of uncomfortable truths about Trump and his supporters through comedy. One of them was something Seth Meyers, Sarah Silverman, and I missed; The Former Guy already has an insulting nickname for Nikki Haley, "Birdbrain." I'm not using it, as I already have one for her. Besides, TFG has a lot of nerve calling someone stupid, which is something I wouldn't call Haley. As I first wrote eleven years ago, "Projection is the Right's favorite defense mechanism. Trump projects, so he fits right in."

Weekend Update continued lampooning last week's debate in Ramaswamy Calls GOP Party of Losers, Ivanka Testifies in Fraud Trial.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like Vivek Ramaswamy calling the GOP a "party of losers" and Ohio becoming the 24th state to legalize marijuana.
After Tuesday's election results, Vivek Ramaswamy might be right. Welcome to a stuck clock being right twice a day, even if it's for the wrong reasons. Speaking of which, I guess SNL's writers couldn't figure out a way to include Haley calling Ramaswamy "scum" in their jokes. Darn.

Follow over the jump for more of the highlights from last night's episode, plus a bonus flashback to Timothée Chalamet's first appearance on SNL.

Speaking of returning bits, Heidi Gardner, who played Nikki Haley in the cold open, not Chloe Fineman — I don't know if that's a mistake or a last minute casting change — returned as Your Co-Worker Who Is Extremely Busy Doing Seemingly Nothing to end Weekend Update.

Your co-worker who is extremely busy doing seemingly nothing (Heidi Gardner) stops by Weekend Update to discuss all of the work that she has to do.
I'd have skipped including this, because it isn't political, except that being "the Instagram choreographer for Britney Spears" was not only a great punchline, but also qualified this entry as the Sunday entertainment feature. So does Timothée Chalamet Monologue, which riffed off the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Second-time host Timothée Chalamet talks about shooting a Chanel perfume commercial with Martin Scorsese and celebrates the end of the SAG-AFTRA strike before rapping about having a baby face with Marcello Hernández.
Chalamet plugging Wonka by singing a parody of "Pure Imagination" was hilarious and exactly what I was hoping for. I blogged about Chalamet's first stint as host in 'Saturday Night Live' opens with a vaccine announcement and makes fun of election lawsuits and Space Force in a coronavirus holiday episode. I observed "I don't usually include skits other than the cold opens because their quality is uneven and their subjects are often unrelated to the topic I'm want to feature, but I think this one was spot on" then. I'm repeating that comment here because Chalamet reprises one of his characters from that appearance in Museum of Hip-Hop Panel.

A host (Ego Nwodim) moderates a panel on hip-hop featuring Mary J. Blige (Punkie Johnson), Rick Rubin (James Austin Johnson), Dr. Cornel West (Kenan Thompson) and SmokeCheddaDaAssGetta (Timothée Chalamet).
First, I'm glad Chalamet is not afraid to look and sound stupid in the service of good comedy. Second, there is still a political joke in here about Eric Adams.* Finally, this episode is really leaning into repeating winning ideas from the past. In that spirit, I'm sharing SmokeCheddaDaAssGetta's first appearance, Rap Roundtable from December 2020.

A host (Ego Nwodim) moderates a panel on hip-hop featuring Questlove, Queen Latifah (Punkie Johnson) and a rap duo (Timothée Chalamet, Pete Davidson).
Just like David Pumpkins returning, that was worth watching and a good place to end this entry.

Stay tuned for a string of holidays, beginning with World Kindness Day, World Diabetes Day, and America Recycles Day. I love holidays!

*As I wrote last year, "I'm still not so sure if it will be a good four years for NYC Mayor Eric Adams." The FBI seizing Adams' phones makes my doubts look prescient.

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