Come on, you didn’t really think “Saturday Night Live” would kick off this weekend with a parody of the third Republican presidential debate, did you?
Well, let’s indulge this little fantasy for a moment and pretend that this broadcast, hosted by Timothée Chalamet and featuring musical genius guest, could actually begin with a sketch featuring candidates other than Donald J. Trump, personified by ” “SNL.” The cast includes Heidi Gardner as Nikki Haley, John Higgins as Ron DeSantis and Ego Nwodim as Vivek Ramaswamy.
Well, not long after Gardner and Nwodim recreated a testy exchange between Haley and Ramaswamy and Devon Walker (as Tim Scott) began gushing about his girlfriend, the entire sketch froze and the lights dimmed on the debate stage .
Enter James Austin Johnson, in his recurring role as Trump: “How adorable,” he said, mocking the other candidates. “They actually think they have a chance. Sad in some ways, but funny in others. Can you believe it, friends? Ninety-one accusations, four trials. And I am still the best option. They’re all stuck behind me and there’s nothing they can do about it. As in real life.”
Johnson continued to mock the low popularity ratings of his Republican rivals in the polls: “One percent, very low,” he said, pointing to Walker. “Lower than, frankly, milk. Apparently there is milk less than 1 percent. “People call it skimmed, we’ve never tried it, we don’t drink it.”
And he offered a satirical meta-commentary on Higgins, the actor who plays DeSantis. “Poor Ron DeSantis,” Johnson said. “Not even ‘SNL’ thinks he has a chance. If they did, it would be like Paul Rudd or something, right?
But above all he talked about himself: “Isn’t it sad, friends?” Johnson said. “None of them can beat Joe Biden. “Frankly, the worst president since me.” Why hasn’t Trump appeared in the debates? As Johnson explained: “I’m very, very busy. I go from trial to trial. “I’m basically doing ‘House Hunters’ but with courtrooms.”
Johnson complained about the fact that he was being tried: “They say I committed fraud,” he said. “It’s not true, okay? Is not true. I have committed many things. Adultery, betrayal, a lot of fraud, perhaps.
But on the witness stand, Johnson said he was on his best behavior: “The judge asks, ‘Did you approve these financial reports?’” he explained. “And very respectfully I say, ‘You’re an idiot.’ This is a farce. When I’m president again, I’ll have you executed.’”
Concluding the debate and sketch, Johnson said: “I will choose one of these lucky five to be my vice president or, in many ways, I won’t at all. Maybe in my third term.”
Opening monologue of the week.
Chalamet, hosting “SNL” for the second time, expressed relief that an agreement had been reached between SAG-AFTRA union actors and Hollywood entertainment studios, ending a months-long strike and allowing him to hit upcoming projects like his movie “Wonka.”
Chalamet grabbed a cane and began mocking the opportunities for self-promotion he could now enjoy, singing a song composed by “Pure imagination” from the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” His lyrics read, in part:
“If you want to see a three and a half hour movie
Go see ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’
Or just wait for Part 2 of ‘Dune’
Just make sure before you use the bathroom…”
In the last part of the monologue, Chalamet and Marcello Hernández paid an obscene tribute to their status as baby-faces (presumably, the material they had prepared in case the strike was not resolved this weekend).
Performance of the week without phone calls
A roundtable segment paying satirical tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip-hop may not be the most revolutionary idea for a comedy sketch, although it does provide a great showcase for cast members like James Austin Johnson and Punkie Johnson to show off their impressions of people. like Rick Rubin and Mary J. Blige.
But what makes this memorable is Chalamet’s delightfully committed performance as a fictional (albeit wildly successful) young rapper with the stage name SmokeCheddaThaAssGetta, who knows nothing about the history of his chosen genre and has no business being in the panel. There’s also the image of Chalamet being spanked by Kenan Thompson (playing Cornel West), the soon-to-be-viral GIF from which the entire sketch is supposedly reverse-engineered.
Impersonation Showcase of the Week
Yes, there was the sketch about the Republican debate and the hip-hop roundtable. But for good measure, why not include one more segment that allows Chloe Fineman and the “SNL” cast to show off her talent for impersonating other famous people?
That is the duty fulfilled by this short film in which best-selling author Britney Spears (Fineman) reveals that, before choosing Michelle Williams to read the audiobook of “The Woman in Me,” she had also tried other readers . Feel free to admire the versatility of Fineman (who also plays Chalamet, Julia Fox and Natasha Lyonne in the sketch); the levels of insider baseball (Sarah Sherman and Michael Longfellow as “SNL” alums John Mulaney and Bill Hader); or the strangeness of James Austin Johnson as Werner Herzog.
Weekend Update Jokes of the Week
At the Weekend Update desk, anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che continued to discuss the Republican debate, the FBI investigation into Mayor Eric Adams of New York, and President Biden’s re-election efforts.
The third Republican debate was held this week and Vivek Ramaswamy began by saying that the Republican Party had become “a party of losers.” Interestingly, NBC also billed the debate as “a loser’s game.” Ramaswamy then criticized Nikki Haley’s daughter for having a TikTok account. He also stressed that it doesn’t matter how he knows that her daughter has a TikTok account. Nikki Haley then responded to the attack by saying, “Leave my daughter out of your voice,” which was taken directly from the Japanese subtitles of Will Smith’s slap.
Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign got a big boost after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds endorsed him. She also gave DeSantis a boost: his leather boots. The FBI has launched a corruption investigation against New York Mayor Eric Adams by confiscating two of his cell phones. One called “work phone” and the other called “short and shady things.”
After new polls showed Donald Trump leading Joe Biden, Democratic strategists are calling Biden’s re-election campaign a five-alarm fire. Which scares Biden, because in case of fire you have to use the stairs.