Given time, “Saturday Night Live” will eventually find a celebrity impersonator to play every member of the Trump administration. This weekend, “S.N.L.” spun its wheel of fortune (a.k.a. Lorne Michaels’s Rolodex) and landed on Matthew Broderick, who appeared as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a sketch about the White House’s ongoing response to the Ukraine affair and the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
The episode, which was hosted by the “Fleabag” creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge and featured the musical guest Taylor Swift, began with a sketch set in the office of Vice President Pence (Beck Bennett). Huddled up with Kate McKinnon (as Rudy Giuliani) and Aidy Bryant (as Attorney General William Barr), Bennett told the group they needed to strategize.
“We need to get ahead of this story before it spirals out of control,” he said. “Did you see those text messages they uncovered?
“They totally exonerate us,” McKinnon said.
“Really?” Bennett asked. “What do they say?”
Reading off her phone, Bryant replied, “Well, this one says: I think we should stop texting about the crimes and maybe tell the crimes over the phone so that the crimes don’t leave little crime footprints.”
Broderick arrived to deliver a few jokes inspired by his role in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” When Bennett observed, “If things go bad for Trump, then I’m president,” Broderick replied, “That’s gonna work out just great. I can’t wait for that to happen. Impeachment moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around, you might miss it.”
Broderick also told the group, “I’ve been asking around and I think that this whole impeachment thing could be really bad.”
Bennett asked him, “Who told you that?”
He answered, “Like, America?”
Kenan Thompson appeared as Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development (“I’ve been sitting in my empty office for like three years. Does anybody know what my job is supposed to be?”) and Alex Moffat played President Sauli Niinisto of Finland, still shellshocked after participating in a joint news conference with President Trump.
The sketch also featured an appearance from the White House adviser Stephen Miller (actually a puppet of a snake) and, for whatever reason, concluded with McKinnon wearing “Joker” makeup.
Opening Monologue of the Week
In her opening monologue, Waller-Bridge extended the victory lap that started two weeks ago at the Emmy Awards, where she won the trophies for lead actress in a comedy and writing for a comedy series and “Fleabag” was named outstanding comedy series.
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Waller-Bridge said that people often ask her if she is like her protagonist on “Fleabag,” whom she described as “sexually depraved, foul-mouthed and dangerous.” She continued, “And I always have to say to them: ‘Yes, you’re absolutely right.’”
She went on to say about the series:
“Fleabag” came from a very personal place for me. It began as a way to get Andrew Scott to dress up as a priest and tell me that he loved me. It took me six years and two seasons to achieve it but I did it. I don’t care about awards, I just want gay men to love me. I call the character Priest in the script, but everyone started calling him Hot Priest. Obviously Andrew is hot, but this Priest character caused such a horn-storm. Andrew and I were trying to figure out what it was about him that was driving women so mental. And we boiled it down and realized, it was because he was doing this one thing: listening. Really, really listening. Try it, guys.
Local News Parody of the Week
The premise of this sketch, which presents itself as a parody of a midday TV news program, may not be immediately clear. (Though you do get to hear Waller-Bridge try on an American accent.) But give it a moment, when her anchorwoman character details a series of gas-station robberies and points out that the suspect is a white male — and her co-anchors, played by Kenan Thompson and Ego Nwodim, celebrate noticeably in the background.
“We’re just glad that we know what the criminal looks like,” Thompson says, adding, under his breath: “And he ain’t one of us.”
A battle of sorts escalates between the show’s white anchors and black anchors, and also draws in the show’s meteorologist (Chris Redd), who tries to argue that a hurricane named Chet has “a white man’s name if I’ve ever heard one.”
Weekend Update Jokes of the Week
At the “Weekend Update” desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che continued to riff on the impeachment inquiry into Trump.
As impeachment gains momentum, President Trump said he may stop referring to the media as fake news and start calling them corrupt news. And the media said they may stop referring to him as President Trump, and start calling him former President Trump. Trump then brushed off any concerns about impeachment, saying, I’m used to it, it’s like putting on a suit. Meaning it’s a massive daily struggle that takes up most of his morning. And this week, we started seeing evidence of the White House covering up the Ukraine scandal, like, one not-at-all-suspicious text that said there were no quid pro quos of any kind. Unfortunately, the next text was the wink emoji, cash emoji, crazy wink emoji and then the Giuliani emoji. [actually a vampire emoji]
Trump keeps saying there was no quid pro quo, which can only mean there was mad quid pro quo. Whenever a guy with like a 30-word vocabulary starts quoting the law in Latin, it’s because he breaks that law all the time. That’s only something you can learn the hard way. Just like there’s guys who can barely count but can somehow tell you exactly how much cocaine you can get caught with before it’s considered trafficking. That’s three grams, by the way.
Weekend Update Deskside Bit of the Week
McKinnon reprised her role as Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator and contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. After being congratulated by Jost for all the money she had raised from small donors, McKinnon replied, “That’s right. That’s grass roots. And guess what, mama loves to garden. That’s why every day I spend four hours taking selfies with every Warby Parker customer in America.”
McKinnon also feigned dismay at Jost’s observation that wealthier donors were uncomfortable with her. “The billionaires don’t like me? Oh no,” she said. “I’m going to tell you the same thing my grandson told me when he took me to ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ — this ain’t for you. But then again, taking big checks from Wall Street worked out great for the last lady running for president. Let me just skip Wisconsin and change my name to Emails Benghazi while I’m at it.”
Other Weekend Update Deskside Bit of the Week
Bowen Yang, an “S.N.L.” writer who was promoted to a featured performer this season, made a lasting impression as a Chinese trade representative who was basking in all the attention he was enjoying amid the trade war between his country and the United States.
As he explained to Che, “I’m running tariffs, so this is my time,” Yang said. “I’m having my moment. I’m basically the Lizzo of China of now. And it turns out I’m 100 percent that trade daddy.”
When Che asked him if he feared a recession, Yang replied, “No, way, Sam. In fact we just waived our tariff on American soybeans so save some of your tempeh for us, Mackenzie.”
“Who’s Mackenzie?” Che said.
Yang replied, “Probably some sophomore at Vassar who drinks out of a metal straw and it’s such a performance.”