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‘S.N.L.’ Takes Aim at the Democratic Debate and Trump’s Acquittal

It was a week in which President Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial in the Senate and gave his annual State of the Union address, and the results of the Democratic caucuses in Iowa descended into chaos, delays and recrimination. So, naturally, “Saturday Night Live” began with … a parody of the Democratic debate in New Hampshire.

By now you know the format for this type of sketch, seen at the opening of this weekend’s broadcast, which was hosted by RuPaul and featured the musical guest Justin Bieber. So we’ll just run through some of the players, the roles they played and their most memorable lines:

Jason Sudeikis, the “S.N.L.” alum, reprised his Joe Biden impersonation on Saturday, dismissing accusations that his campaign had been hampered by a weak performance in Iowa. He said, “By the time we get to South Cackalackey, Joe Biden’s gonna do what Joe Biden does best: creep up from behind. Just when you think your lead is safe, my numbers are gonna sneak up and surprise you with a nice sweet kiss on the neck.”

Larry David returned as Bernie Sanders to take stock of the Iowa debacle. “I still can’t believe all this mess happened in Iowa because of an app,” he said. “Hey, I have an idea for an app. It’s called no apps. No apps, no computers, no gadgets, no gizmos. You show up to your polling place, take a number like you do at the butcher, they call your ticket. You walk up to the counter and say to the guy: ‘Give me a pound of whatever’s about to go bad.’”

Bowen Yang played Andrew Yang, pointing out the math pin on his lapel as he said sarcastically, “Oh, the issue in Iowa was math? Oh, I wonder who they could have called to help them out with that? I meant because of my pin, racist.”

Rachel Dratch, another “S.N.L.” veteran, was back as Amy Klobuchar, trying not to be overshadowed by Elizabeth Warren. “Elizabeth is J. Lo and I’m Shakira,” Dratch said. “And so, to Donald Trump I say: ” — here, she imitated Shakira’s tongue wag from her performance at the Super Bowl halftime show.

The debate was briefly interrupted by an advertisement for Michael Bloomberg. “Are you a registered Democrat thinking, These can’t be my only choices?” the slogan ran. “Then try Bloomberg. He’s not as short as Trump is fat.”

Then it was back to players like Kate McKinnon as Elizabeth Warren, who boasted about her lack of funding. “My campaign is broke as hell,” she said. “My biggest contributions are the pennies from loafers and whatever the concerned moms of Bernie bros can afford.” (Later in the sketch, McKinnon also said, “I know a lot of people like me but they worry about if I’m electable. I have a great solution for that: Elect me.”

Colin Jost, as Pete Buttigieg, addressed his campaign’s lack of traction with black voters. “People say I’m not very popular among minorities,” he said. “They’ve been referring to me as Mayo Pete. But I assure you I’m not that spicy.”

Finally, the debate moderator George Stephanopoulos, played by Mikey Day, asked Sudeikis for his closing statement, telling him that he had 60 seconds.

A surprised Sudeikis responded, “What? No, the doctors said I had six to eight months.”

Over at the Weekend Update desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che continued to riff on the end of President Trump’s impeachment trial and his State of the Union address.


President Trump was acquitted in his Senate trial this week, and Democrats are calling it a cover-up. But does this look like a guy who can pull off a cover-up? [The screen showed a recent viral photograph of President Trump.] Oh my God, it’s like the day at the nursing home when they let the residents put their own makeup on. President Trump then spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and held up a copy of a headline about his acquittal. I assume to prove that prayers don’t work. Then he went and attacked Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon who voted to convict him. Trump said, “I don’t like people who use their faith as a justification for doing what they know is wrong.” At which point even the leaders of the National Prayer Breakfast were like, Jesus Christ, dude.


The day after the Senate vote, President Trump gave a speech at the White House, which he called a celebration. Let’s take a look. [The screen shows a video of O.J. Simpson being acquitted in 1995.] Oh, that’s the wrong clip. Here’s the actual one. [A montage of outtakes from President Trump’s remarks in the East Room, calling Adam Schiff “a vicious, horrible person” and Nancy Pelosi “a horrible person” and using an obscenity.] At least he’s happy.


During his state of the union address, Trump gave a medal to Rush Limbaugh and celebrated the creation of the Space Force, a moment that was predicted by a Mad Lib I did in 1992.

Just two weeks after Melissa Villaseñor’s hilariously pointed song about white male rage in Academy Award-nominated films, is it too soon for another segment about the Oscars?

Absolutely not. This week, it was Chloe Fineman’s turn to shine in a bit about what she called “steering wheel acting,” which she described as “the scene in every Oscar movie where a broken woman is finally alone in her car and just lets it all go.” (She then demonstrated by gripping an imaginary steering wheel and bursting into an unsettling combination of tears and laughter.)

Really, the segment was just an opportunity for Fineman to show off her impersonations of actresses like Ana de Armas, Renee Zellweger, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep, Laura Dern and Scarlett Johansson, who also happens to be Jost’s fiancée. (“Do you feel like you’re at home, Colin?” Fineman said, still in character, to the embarrassed anchor.)

RuPaul appeared as himself in this sketch set at a public library, where he had been invited to read to impressionable kids and their loving parents.

One by one, RuPaul held up various classic works of children’s literature and proceeded to roast their beloved protagonists. Glancing at Kay Thompson’s “Eloise,” he said, “Ooh, Eloise, you need to call the front desk to get a hot oil treatment for that broom on your head. And girl, Victoria’s Secret called — they want their wallpaper back.” He looked at Ludwig Bemelmans’ “Madeline” and observed, “Miss Madeline, I have bad news, child. The Eiffel Tower is not in the woods.”

More helpfully, RuPaul also explained to his audience, “Reading is throwing shade. A brutal insult wrapped inside a glorious wordplay.” He also said of Eric Carle’s “Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “This girl is shaped like a BMW: Body Made Wrong.”

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