Bryan Cranston made a surprise and fresh replacement for Alec Baldwin in tonight’s Saturday Night Live cold open, reprising his Breaking Bad Walter White character as Donald Trump’s choice to head the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“Donald Trump and I know it’s time to make America cook again,” said Cranston as TV’s greatest meth-maker. “We want to fill this nation with red, white and a whole lot of blue.”
SNL started off unsurprisingly: Beck Bennett as CNN’s Jake Tapper welcoming Kate McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway. They ran through real-Donald’s recent cabinet picks — a global-warming skeptic for the EPA, a hamburger tycoon for labor secretary. “No, Jake,” said Kellyanne. “They aren’t bad, they’re alt-good.”
Then came the choice for DEA head, introduced by Tapper as a “high school teacher” who comes highly recommended by Steve Bannon.
Enter Cranston, in bald wig, goatee and that famous beige windbreaker, making his case for the job: “I like that wall he wants to build. Nothing comes in from Mexico, meaning a lot less competition for the rest of us.”
“Jobs?,” asked Tapper.
“Ha, sure,” replied White.
When Conway said the DEA’s been knocking on White’s doors for years, Cranston responded with the comment Breaking Bad fans knew was coming: “I am the one who knocks.”
The bit was remarkably short — maybe three minutes — and couldn’t go much beyond the set-up, but it can’t be easy concocting Trump-themed openings these days that top real-life absurdities. Or that don’t for that matter. The Trump openings lately have been running a bit on fumes, and Cranston knows how to deliver those better than anyone.
Cranston’s raunchy comedy Why Him?, costarring James Franco, hits theaters December 23.