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‘S.N.L.’ Brings Back Ben Stiller and Bill Hader to Skewer Michael Cohen Congressional Hearings

Category: Art & Culture,Arts

There are certain guarantees in life. Death, the rising sun and Ben Stiller returning to play Michael Cohen in this week’s cold open of “Saturday Night Live” are among them.

The newest “S.N.L.” spoofed Wednesday’s widely watched congressional hearing in which President Trump’s former personal attorney testified under oath before the House Oversight and Reform Committee that Trump was a “racist” and a “con-man,” and detailed what he said was a pattern of criminal behavior. Cohen has already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress under oath, something Stiller himself poked fun at in character.

“Of course the first time I testified was under oath, but this time I, like really mean it,” Stiller said.

The sketch began with Kenan Thompson playing the role of Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the committee chairman, who quipped, “For any other president, this hearing would be the most damning and humiliating moment of their lives, but for Trump, it’s just Wednesday,” before handing the floor to Cohen.

Stiller, as Cohen, said in his opening statement that he had help in writing it “from the guys who wrote ‘Green Book.’”

“I know that I was wrong,” Stiller said. “And I know it, because I got caught.”

He concluded with this missive: “But now, I’m all out of faith. This is how I feel. I’m cold and I’m ashamed and lying naked on the floor. Illusion never changed into something real. I’m wide-awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn.”

If this bit went over your head — and we wouldn’t blame you — Stiller was reciting lyrics from the song “Torn,” a ’90s hit for the Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia.

The main target of the “S.N.L.” writing team was Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking Republican. The show brought in a pinch-hitter, one of its most famous alums, Bill Hader, to play a furious version of Jordan.

“You’re right that I’m angry,” Hader said. “I’m angry that I have to sit here through this two-bit dirtbag flea circus. I’m so angry I couldn’t even wear a jacket today. You know something, Mr. Cohen, I’ve never even heard of you!” Hader said.

“Your mother has,” Stiller responded.

The rest of the sketch featured Democrats ceding their time to Jordan, hoping he would make a fool of himself, as well as a lampoon of Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who at the testimony on Wednesday brought Lynne Patton, a black Department of Housing and Urban Development official and longtime Trump ally, to counter Cohen’s claim that Trump is a racist.

“S.N.L.” recreated the moment, with Alex Moffat portraying Meadows, and Ego Nwodim as Patton. With one problem, courtesy of Moffatt:

“Her name is Omarosa,” Moffat said, a reference to the former Trump aide, who is also black. Nwodim tried to correct him, but Moffat would have none of it.

Weekend Update Jokes of the Week

Colin Jost and Michael Che teed off on the Cohen testimony as well from the update desk, among other topics. At one point — perhaps illustrating the difficulty of mocking Trump — the hosts simply played clips of Trump giving his more than two-hour speech at the annual gathering of conservatives in Washington, CPAC.

Jost:

Did you guys see this picture online of a chubby sewer rat that got stuck in a manhole? It’s this creature that usually seems gross, but under these circumstances, it’s kind of adorable and you almost feel sorry for it. That’s how I felt about watching Michael Cohen testify in Congress.

Jost:

Cohen also provided Congress with copies of letters threatening Trump’s high schools and colleges not to reveal his SAT scores. And while Cohen did not reveal what those scores were, let’s just say Trump lives a little closer to 920 Pennsylvania Avenue than to 1600.

Che:

Michael Cohen told Congress about all the dirty little nasty freaky things that Donald Trump made him do. I don’t know why I just made that sexual but I am tired of Michael Cohen’s whole damsel-in-distress routine. “Oh, Mr. Trump took advantage of me. I guess I’m a fool.” You stole a United States presidency. Why are you acting like a [expletive] now? Your voice wasn’t trembling when you was threatening schoolteachers and shaking down porn stars. I want to hear that guy talk to Congress. At least Donald Trump has the decency to slowly fall apart until he is dragged off in handcuffs like a boss. I mean, that’s how I want to leave “S.N.L.”

Jost:

This week, President Trump met with North Korean dictator — and let’s face it, one of his top five closest friends — Kim Jong-un. Talks broke down when the two leaders could not agree on sanctions. Another problem was Kim Jong-un used an interpreter, while Trump just spoke English, but louder.

Weekend Update Deskside Bit of the Week

We love a good character break, especially when it comes from cast members who typically hold it together. Jost led into the bit telling the story about a pig named Picasso who was saved from a slaughterhouse because of his ability to paint.

He invited the owners of “Smokery Farms Meat Gift Delivery Service,” on to comment: cousins Vaneta and Wylene Starkie, played by Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant. In deep Southern accents, the two lamented the preponderance of heartwarming animal stories.

“People going vegan left and right because the damn internet keeps showing people videos like ‘Pig Teaches Deaf Dog To Bark,’” McKinnon said.

The sketch almost derailed immediately after, as McKinnon and Bryant had trouble containing their laughter. They brought on raw cuts to describe the quality of their well-known Smokery cuts of meat. The lines barely mattered at that point, as the spectacle of the duo losing it had the audience in stitches.

Wedding Guest of the Week

Who knew that John Mulaney, hosting the show for the second time, was so versed in black culture? In this sketch, Mulaney attends a wedding with his girlfriend, played by Nwodim. The wedding is her cousin’s, and Mulaney is the only white attendee. He repeatedly keeps expressing nervousness about not having enough in common with the other guests, especially because he’s a “software engineer from Indiana.”

Except, as we learn during a long dance sequence to a remix of “Cha-Cha Slide,” Mulaney fits in as well as anybody in the room. He is a Howard University graduate and knows when to wave a church fan — perhaps from the spades tournament we find out that Mulaney competed in with Nwodim’s aunt, Georgette, played by Leslie Jones.

He’s also, apparently, a humble master of Beyoncés “Single Ladies” moves.


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