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In just his second “Saturday Night Live” appearance this season — and his first since his arrest following a dispute over a parking space — Alec Baldwin returned to the program this weekend to portray President Trump in a comedy sketch set at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Argentina.
In the show’s cold open, Baldwin stood on a hotel balcony, complaining to Melania Trump (played by cast member Cecily Strong) that he’d been having trouble sleeping. “I keep having this nightmare where I’m walking through a forest of blood,” he said.
Strong replied, “No, no, that was just my Christmas decorations.”
Baldwin, a frequent “S.N.L.” guest who has portrayed President Trump on the show since 2016, said at the start of this season that he intended to play the role less often.
In November, he was arrested after he got into an altercation with another driver over a parking space near the actor’s Manhattan home. The other driver, who was not identified, had an injury to his jaw and Baldwin was given a summons for misdemeanor assault and harassment. At an arraignment later that month, Baldwin’s lawyer said that video evidence would show “beyond all doubt” that his client “did not commit any crime.” Baldwin was released without bail and is due to return to court on Jan. 23.
As Trump in the “S.N.L.” sketch, Baldwin referenced his own legal troubles, complaining at one point, “God, I haven’t been this upset since I flipped out over that parking space.”
He also traded quips with Kate McKinnon, playing Rudy Giuliani, who is representing the president as a defense lawyer in the Mueller investigation.
Asked by Baldwin how the legal defense was coming, McKinnon answered, “Well, I’m involved, so it’s not great. This might be the first time someone’s lawyer pleads insanity.”
In desperation, Baldwin made a phone call to Ben Stiller, reprising his role as Michael Cohen, a personal lawyer to the president who pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal he pursued on behalf of President Trump.
Baldwin told Stiller, “I’m sad you’re going to prison, Michael. You were like a son to me.”
Stiller asked him, “Then why’d you make me do so much illegal stuff?”
Baldwin answered, “Because you were like a son to me.”
Baldwin was also visited by President Vladimir Putin of Russia (played by Beck Bennett) and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia (played by the “S.N.L.” alum Fred Armisen). They swapped enthusiastic hand shakes and joked about their newfound friendship.
Finally the sketch concluded with the ensemble singing a parody of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” from the musical “Evita.” Its lyrics ran, in part:
Don’t cry for us Argentina
The truth is I barely know him
All through our wild days
My mad existence
It’s just a witch hunt
And we’re all witches
In other memorable moments from the show:
Political TV Parody of the Week
“S.N.L.” offered a new installment in its long-running sendup of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” whose hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski got married at the end of November. As played by Alex Moffat and Kate McKinnon, the newly wedded broadcasters traded icky innuendos and mostly ignored their guests.
They did, however, make time for Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, who was played by Melissa Villaseñor. When the hosts said she had beaten the odds to win her seat in Congress, Villaseñor answered, “I’m a millennial, so getting any full-time job is overcoming incredible odds.”
She added, “Joe, I worked as a bartender in a Mexican restaurant like, 11 minutes ago. This job is a frickin’ breeze. We get Saturday and Sunday off, I can sit down whenever I want. Changing America’s health care system is going to be nada.”
Moffat observed that she had already begun receiving death threats, but Villaseñor was undaunted. “Listen, I grew up riding the 6 train, O.K.?” she said. “I’m used to crazy people yelling, ‘I’m going to kill you’ for no reason. That’s not a death threat, that’s just a Tuesday in the Bronx. I was born for this.”
[Catch up on the week in pop culture here.]
Weekend Update Jokes of the Week
At the “Weekend Update” desk, co-anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che continued to riff on Cohen’s guilty plea and the first lady’s Christmas decorations.
This week, Americans were hit with the stunning revelation that their president may have possibly lied to them. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, who I believe is the love child of Cellino and Barnes, testified in court that Donald Trump continued to work on a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow well into his presidential campaign. Trump defended himself saying the deal was “very legal & very cool.” Which sounds like a Craigslist ad for Russian prostitutes: “No. 1 all-time babes, very legal, very cool, man. And we never kill you, only sometimes.”
President Trump attacked Michael Cohen for pleading guilty to lying to Congress, calling him a weak person. Oh, really? What gave that away, his chin? Doesn’t Donald Trump realize everyone he hires just ends up leaving him or getting fired or locked up? Oh, honey, it’s you. He picks counsel like my cousin Tasha picks baby fathers.
First lady Melania Trump was mocked on social media for her White House Christmas display, which this year features 40 red trees. And sure, those trees look like jagged teeth in the blazing hot mouth of Satan himself. But come on, guys, Melania, she needs this. Her only other thing is a campaign against bullying that has been used exclusively to bully her. And it’s not like most Christmas decorations are super tasteful anyway. Have you seen what people put on their lawns? Maybe you think the White House should be full of giant inflatable Minions? Or how about this lovely inflatable Santa in an outhouse? That’s real and it cost 150 damn dollars. Also, do you think the Christmas display would have been better if Hillary had won? Bill would be doing the decorating. So that hallway would be 100 percent leg lamps.
Seasonal Song of the Week
In a segment that promised “a holiday message from the women of ‘S.N.L.,’ cast members including Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Aidy Bryant and Melissa Villaseñor sang a parody of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” that was directed at Robert Mueller, urging him to release his report as soon as possible. As some of the lyrics went:
I don’t need a full impeachment
But we just need a little fun
Please just tell us we aren’t crazy
At least indict his oldest son
Stepping away from the song, McKinnon offered a nervous caveat: “Unless the report has like zero new information,” she said, “because then we would rather it never come out.”
Strong added, “Because it is our last ray of hope and I’ve already drunk all the wine.”
A Tribute to President Bush
At the end of “Weekend Update,” Che and Jost paused to remember George Bush, the 41st president of the United States, who died on Friday at the age of 94.
Che said, “Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.”
Jost added, “That’s right. President Bush was famously a very warm and gracious man who always understood the power in being able to laugh at yourself.”
On screen, “S.N.L.” played short clips of former cast mate Dana Carvey delivering his well-honed impression of President Bush, as well as a segment in which Bush himself good-naturedly offered Carvey his reaction to the impersonation.
[Read more about George Bush’s appreciation for Dana Carvey’s impression here.]
Bush told Carvey, “I’m watching you do your impression of me, and I’ve got to say, it’s nothing like me. Bears no resemblance. It’s bad. It’s bad.”
Carvey replied, “Well, I’m sorry, Mr. President. I think it’s a fair impression.”
Bush said, “Don’t see it. It’s totally exaggerated. It’s not me. Those crazy hand gestures. The pointing thing. I don’t do ‘em. And also, ‘na ga da’? Never said it. In all my years of government service, I never once said, ‘na ga da.’”
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