While there has been an outcry over the last 24 hours for Donald Trump to step aside in the race for the White House after the leak of his lewd comments on an Access Hollywood bus in 2005, the makers of Saturday Night Live better hope that doesn’t happen. Donald Trump might well be the best thing to have happened to that show since John Belushi.
Last night’s episode began with a rather racy opening skit that began with an encore of the vice presidential debate and devolved into a Trump apology, which you can see here:
Truthfully, were it not for the Trump scandal, the episode hosted by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda would have been pretty uneven and it was well worth the producers tearing up whatever they had planned for the opener to do something in the moment. Colin Jost and Michael Che also tore up their Weekend Update pseudo newscast to focus on the Trump bombshell. The results were pretty sharp. Among the best: Che saying that Trump called Mexicans “rapists, but then, there you are on tape explaining how you assault women. The only way you could be more hypocritical is if you said it in Spanish.”
After reading a pro-women Tweet from Tic Tac mints (Trump said he needed a mint in the leaked bombshell yesterday), Jost showed a package of orange Tic Tacs with a suggested ad slogan – “Grab bad breath by the pussy” — and then said bad breath wasn’t Trump’s biggest problem and that in fact, those orange mints might be the reason his skin was turning that citrus-hued color.
They were joined by former fake newscaster team Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon, as undecided Pennsylvania voters Denise McDonough and Doreen Troilo. In keeping with his long run on the show – Fallon once guest hosted and recounted all the classic SNL skits that he ruined by laughing, like the Chris Walken/Will Ferrell Cowbell gem – Fallon flubbed lines but the affability of the Tonight Show host still allows him to get away with it.
There was a rather barbed Melania Moments, where Mrs. Trump (Cecily Strong) wakes up in a cold sweat, realizes her replacement was just born somewhere in rural Latvia, and takes steps to banish the future Mrs. Trump – “not for my sake, but hers.”
The other standout segment was A Day Off With Kellyanne Conway, Trump Campaign Manager. Kate McKinnon, whose profile coming off her Emmy win continues to grow into a dominant force, played the bubbly campaign manager, as she took advantage of her day off, to the strains of the ebullient Katrina and the Waves tune I’m Walking On Sunshine. Only to be interrupted from her leisure time activities like yoga, painting, and even a romantic bathtub encounter by texts that required her to go on CNN and explain the latest Trump gaffe. Very sharp.
Miranda began his monologue by reminding how successful his Broadway creation Hamilton is, which meant most TV viewers had never heard of him. He hip hopped his way through an opening number that led him through the SNL corridors – the inevitable encounter with exec producer Lorne Michaels ended with Miranda making “no promises” to Michaels’ request for show tickets, even after Michaels concedes he would take a matinee – and there was even more Trump bashing.
Excluding Trump, the rest of the show was very Broadway-centric, and those bits were hit and miss. In the latter category was an afterparty for a high school performance of The Crucible, one where a Wells Fargo agent took over a Music Man production to sell balloon mortgages to the townsfolk, another where Miranda played a substitute teacher trying to impress an advanced class of kids with his hip hop abilities (they’d heard it all before), and another, purportedly from AMC that showed footage from a WWII film called A Degree of Valor. A dying soldier (Pete Davidson) makes his commanding officer agree (Miranda) to go to his house, tell his girl he loved her, and find and remove from the garage hiding place his oversized “butt plug.”
Like I said, thank heavens for Donald Trump.
Here is Miranda’s heartfelt opening number, a riff on the song My Shot, from his towering Broadway show: