UPDATE with video Will Ferrell went presidential for Saturday Night Live‘s cold open tonight, bringing back his George W. Bush to remind America that the good old pre-Trump days weren’t always so great.
“At this rate,” said Ferrell’s W, “I might even end up on Mount Rushmore.”
“The point is,” he added, “I’m suddenly popular AF.”
And later: “Back in my day we didn’t let Russians rig our elections. We used the Supreme Court like Americans.”
Taking the first-sketch spot more recently reserved for Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump or Kate McKinnon’s Jeff Sessions, Ferrell was both a reminder of SNL’s slightly sweeter past and a blast of sharp, fresh air. Even skipping his “strategery” catchphrase – might it confuse the kids? – Ferrell easily and assuredly recaptured the surface gentleness of his Noughties impression while upholding the naughty bite of the show’s current regime.
“I just want to remind you guys that I was really bad,” he said in that instantly familiar Texas twang, cautioning his countrymen against remembering the pre-Trump days too rosily. “Like, historically not good. So I get why you don’t like this current guy…but please do not look back on my presidency and think this is how you do it. Don’t forget we’re still in two wars that I started.
“What has two thumbs and created ISIS?,” Ferrell said, aiming his thumbs at himself. “This guy.”
Set up as a special message from the former president, the cold open featured Ferrell solo until the arrival of Leslie Jones as Condi Rice. Soon enough, the two were crooning an updated version of All in the Family‘s “Those Were the Days” theme.
Boy the way the game was played/Everybody knew their place/Cheney shot a guy in the face/Those were the days
The housing market went to hell/Nazis kept it to themselves/Bin Laden was alive and well/Those were the days
Ferrell took aim at politicos past and present. “Some say Mike Pence is heartless,” he said, “but remember Dick Cheney was literally heartless. At this point, it’s just Legos in there.”