Saturday Night Live typically unloads its best political material in the first sketch, and this weeks cold open was a blockbuster, bringing back Ben Stiller as a high-strung Michael Cohen and Alec BaldwinsDonald Trump for the most star-studded ensemble of the season, with S.N.L. alum Martin Short making a cameo as Dr. Harold Bornstein;Scarlett Johansson and Jimmy Fallon as Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump; and, in a truly inspired choice, Kate McKinnon as Trumps new lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Plus, a special appearance by the real-life thorn in Trumps side, Stormy Daniels.
The bit begins with an exchange that feels like it could have been pulled from the headlines, after a week of spectacular news stories about Cohen, the presidents longtime fixer, who Trump employed to do things like pay hush money to Daniels. (“Trump didnt know about the specifics, as far as I know,” Giuliani recently claimed. “But he did know about the general arrangement that Michael would take care of things like this.”)
“Hello, its Donald Trump, who this?” Baldwins Trump begins, picking up the phone.
“Its Michael Cohen. God, I miss you so much,” says Stiller, who is calling from a payphone.
“Whats up amigo, how you holding up in prison?
“Im not in prison!”
“Oh, well, give it a couple of weeks.”
Trump may be in trouble, too, if Cohen decides to flip on the president in exchange for leniency. In an article Saturday documenting Cohens long history of shady real-estate dealings, The New York Timesreported that Trumps lawyers are “resigned to the strong possibility that the investigation of Mr. Cohens businesses could lead him to cooperate with federal prosecutors.”
In the sketch, Stillers Cohen is attempting to do damage control and finally get the White Houses story straight about Stormy Daniels—though it seems the cast members are stuck in a never-ending game of telephone—all while a pair of stunned F.B.I. agents listen in. The sketch features a bunch of current S.N.L. cast members, including Aidy Bryant as Sarah Huckabee Sanders;Leslie Jones as Omarosa, “still pissed off;” Beck Bennett as Vice President Mike Pence, who believes hes called into “a “party line, no questions asked;” and Cecily Strong as Melania, rising up from the floor in her white hat, asking if “her friend” could testify against her husband if she wanted to. Theres even a jab at Kanye West, who Baldwins Trump jokes is about to become the White Houses new chief strategist.
McKinnon, who has also played Hillary Clinton, Kellyanne Conway and Jeff Sessions, among others, delivers one of the best lines of the night as Giuliani, Trumps “lawyer, and his worst nightmare,” who may have implicated Trump in two federal crimes last week. “Guys, can we hurry this up?” McKinnon says. “Im supposed to be doing 24 more talk show appearances today. I'm trying to make it like an advent calendar, where I reveal one new crime on each show.”
Amid all the chaos, Cohen receives a phone call from “Ivanka and Jared” (Johansson and Fallon), who are demanding to know why Giuliani called Kushner “disposable” on national television (something that Giuliani did in fact do, in a bizarre, freewheeling interview last week).
“Listen, Ivanka, you know your dad would do anything to protect you,” Stillers Cohen says. “But if he needs to, hed throw Jared under the bus in a hear beat.”
“What did he say?” Fallons Kushner asks, trying to listen in. Johanssons Ivanka smiles: “He said youre fine.”
The biggest cheer of the night was for Stormy Daniels, cameoing as herself, telling Trump that shell only stop talking about their alleged affair if he resigns from office. “I know you dont believe in climate change,” she says, “but a storms a-coming, baby.”
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