If you read our Saturday Night Live review today you know we singled out the cold open as being especially bad. And, whew, is it ever. But we’re still doing the thing, the thing where we post it up here on Paste in hopes of leeching off a bit of its viral juice today. This sketch already has over a million views on YouTube, which is more than twice as many as any other sketch from last night, which means for some reason this one has really resonated with the people. And who are we to disagree with what the people want, other than all those times we regularly do in our reviews? The economics of publishing and the media industry are so utterly disastrous that Paste, like all over general interest pop culture outlets, can’t afford to not post the most popular SNL clips each and every Sunday. This is an enduring part of our legacy, and a major part of my career, and I’m okay with it, because not only do I get to write about whatever I want to when I’m not too busy recapping bad comedy sketches, but more importantly I don’t have to hop on six a.m. calls with the technical support team in India anymore. I would write 50 SNL pieces a day for the rest of my life to avoid that fate again.
So: this sketch. Last night’s cold open went right back to the politics that last week’s episode smartly avoided, with a Meet the Press sketch full of impressions of various prominent Republicans. The idea is simple: what could Donald Trump do to make people like Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham and Susan Collins publicly disagree with him and refuse to support his agenda? The answer, of course, is pretty much nothing—these folks are ride or die for the guy as long as he keeps cutting taxes (or threatening to support primary challengers). (Presumably they are not also ride or die for Weezer.) Even Graham (played here by Kate McKinnon, who apparently has to play every southern Republican), who was one of Trump’s harshest critics with the party during the 2016 primaries, insists on (angrily, vociferously) supporting Trump to the full extent of his capabilities today.
As far as sketch ideas go, it’s not the worst SNL has ever had. It’s certainly better than Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression, which has mercifully been AWOL from the show for a long time now. The problem is that it’s not just an SNL idea but something that has long been pointed out by anybody who’s even slightly paying attention to American politics. Graham’s complete 180 on Trump happened years ago, and has been repeated by almost every single Republican who didn’t initially support the guy. The Republicans have been shamelessly on board with Trump since it became clear he was going to win the nomination, embracing every terrible idea, idiotic tweet and racist policy the guy’s floated since then, all in hopes of keeping power and redistributing money back to the richest of the rich. This sketch could’ve been written at any point in the last 30 months, and this same basic point has been made endlessly by literally every single person who makes jokes about politics. SNL might’ve spared us from Baldwin once more, but in his place it offered up a leaky bowl of pre-chewed gruel and called it comedy.
You can watch that video right here!