The emergence of a new public figure in the political sphere is a precious moment for fans of “Saturday Night Live,” one that often sets off a guessing game of which cast member (or, lately, which celebrity guest star) will be playing that person by the weekend. Who would make the best Brett Kavanaugh? The perfect Robert Mueller? The ideal Dr. Anthony Fauci?
So last week at a Michigan House hearing, after Rudy Giuliani helped introduce audiences to Melissa Carone, a contractor for Dominion Voting Systems with an assertive confidence in her unverified claims of voter fraud that a Wayne County judge had already described as “simply not credible,” viewers of “S.N.L.” went into action.
In particular, the “S.N.L.” faithful couldn’t help but draw comparisons between Carone’s distinctive cadence and the speech patterns of the Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party, the recurring character played by Cecily Strong.
And sure enough, Strong took center stage in this weekend’s opening sketch, playing Carone in a parody of the Michigan hearing.
The sketch also featured Kate McKinnon as an audibly flatulent Giuliani, who told the legislators that he and President Trump planned to keep contesting election results: “First in Michigan, then in Georgylvania, and then Pennsachusetts and then North Dacanada,” she said.
McKinnon added that she would introduce “a dozen highly intelligent, barely intoxicated individuals who are all eyewitnesses.”
That parade began with Strong, as Carone, who emphatically told the House members: “Excuse me, maybe try losing the attitude first. Just like you lost all those Trump ballots.”
More witnesses testified, including Heidi Gardner as a woman who said she ate ballots; Beck Bennett as the My Pillow chief executive Mike Lindell; Alex Moffat as the victim of an alien abduction; and Chloe Fineman, playing Nicole Kidman’s character from HBO’s “The Undoing.”
But time and again, the proceedings were interrupted by Strong, who continued to spin conspiracy theories (“I voted for Trump, yet Biden won? Hmmm. Maybe a little too random”) and confused Dominion with Domino’s Pizza. (“Well, for starters they cheated me out of my cheesy bread,” she said, adding: “Either way my vote took longer than 30 minutes so it’s supposed to be free.”)
Before wrapping up the hearing (and the sketch), McKinnon’s Giuliani vowed: “I would say the defense rests, but we will never rest. Not until this election is overturned. Or I get a full pardon and $10 million in cash.”
Eminem parody of the week
It took a moment for the premise of this filmed segment to become clear: Santa Claus (played by Jason Bateman, the evening’s host) and his elves (Bennett, Fineman and Kyle Mooney) read through letters from children before they come across a disturbing request from an especially dedicated Santa fan. That fan is Stu (Pete Davidson), who raps his Christmas wish as an homage to Eminem’s “Stan”:
I won’t be greedy or needy or ask you for too much.
Just want one thing and hope you still got that magic touch.
‘Cause getting this present is the only thing keeping me alive.
Dear Santa Claus: Please bring me a PS5.
The sketch also features McKinnon in the role of Dido, Eminem’s collaborator on the original song; Bowen Yang as Elton John, who famously sang a duet of “Stan” with Eminem at the 2001 Grammys; and stick around till the very end for one last surprise cameo.
Weekend Update jokes of the week
At the Weekend Update desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che riffed on President Trump’s failed efforts to overturn his election loss and on the distribution of coronavirus vaccines.
Pete Davidson routine of the week
Speaking from the Weekend Update desk, Davidson, a well-known native of Staten Island, riffed on a recent protest at Mac’s Public House, a tavern there whose owner declared the bar an “autonomous zone” in a rebellion against pandemic restrictions. “People were outside the bar, shouting about freedom, taunting the cops, chanting that they should arrest the governor,” Davidson said. “But it’s Staten Island, so I assume that it was just a typical last call.”
Davidson added that a protester had “compared not being able to drink indoors to being Jewish during the Holocaust, which must have been awkward for the people there who had to suddenly pretend they believed in the Holocaust.”
Davidson also wondered why so many Twitter users were decrying a charity table-reading of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in which he will read James Stewart’s role of George Bailey. “It’s an old-timey film about a guy who’s suicidal,” Davidson said. “I’m famously depressed and have the complexion of someone in a black-and-white movie.”
Silver lining of the week
The country musician Morgan Wallen was previously scheduled to appear on “S.N.L.” in October, but he lost that booking after several videos posted to social media showed him celebrating a University of Alabama football victory in ways that violated the show’s coronavirus protocols. Two months later, Wallen was back to perform on the program and he also appeared in this sketch, in which he poked fun at his shortsighted actions.
Wallen played himself, carousing at an Alabama bar, where his future self (Bateman) appeared in a puff of smoke and advised him that his actions would cost him his “S.N.L.” spot. (“Trust me, somebody’s going to post a video of you ignoring Covid protocols,” Bateman told Wallen. “The whole internet’s going to freak out.”) Bateman, in turn, was given a warning from another future self (Yang), who urged him to reconsider “that experimental skin regimen you’re going to try — it might make you too hot.”