Saturday Night Live wrapped up its 45th season last night with another SNL at Home episode, and kicked off with the return of one of its most polarizing performances. Pretty much everything that can be said about Alec Baldwin’s version of Donald Trump has been said over and over for the last four years, to the point where we’re even more tired of that discourse than we are Baldwin’s terrible impression. So let’s skip past that and just talk about this one specific sketch.
At least there’s a novel angle for Trump’s appearance this week, and a timely one, too. The high school year is coming to a close, and graduation ceremonies are being held online. SNL captured this weird moment in time in its cold open, with a bunch of high school grads waiting to accept their diplomas via Zoom call. Before they could get to that moment, though, they had to sit through a speech by Donald Trump, who used the time to do what he usually does: complain about how unfair everybody is to him and how all the problems in the world were caused by other people. Is it funny? I’ll let you be the judge of that. Is it at least a slightly more interesting setup for Baldwin’s Trump than the standard Oval Office sketch or news show parody the show regularly trots out? Yeah. It is. The presence of the students also makes it slightly better than most SNL Trump sketches—from how he asks for the “jazz types” to be muted, to Heidi Gardner as the one obnoxiously pro-Trump student on the call, it allowed for a few bits of Trump material that the show hasn’t already exhausted.
If you haven’t seen it, check it out below. Hopefully when this show comes back we’ll be past the worst of this pandemic, and it’ll return to its normal home in front of a studio audience. As weird and interesting as these “at home” episodes have been, it’d actually feel good for SNL to return to normal—if only because it would mean the world maybe has, too.