If you were expecting to hear a lot about Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock at the Oscars on March 27, tonight’s Saturday Night Live cold open didn’t have a lot to offer.
Sure, James Austin Johnson ‘s Donald Trump showed up towards the end to declare that “I saw slap, I enjoyed slap, I was very impressed with my Hitch.” Swirling around a few references to past flicks by the King Richard star, Johnson’s Trump went on to say “quite an arm on Hitch, I always knew Hitch had an arm.”
“Back in Pursuit of Happyness, he’s slugging the machine on and off the subway,” this season’s Trump rambled. “I thought it was great. You know, they slept in the bathroom in that movie. It’s so sad. it’s a sad night for Hitch too.”
And that was kind of it, before the convo moved on to the latest January 6 revelations.
Instead, it was “ Good Morning Vietnam!” screamed SNL’s Alex Moffat as a dim witted Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy at the beginning of the NBC show’s cold open tonight.
Starting off sitting next to castmates Heidi Gardner as Ainsley Earhardt and Mikey Day as Brian Kilmeade, the bespectacled Moffat as Doocy made banter with his colleagues about what they been up to, Donald Trump’s Truth app and crushes on Sen Ted Cruz in the SCOTUS confirmation hearings of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. All of which could have leap into a myriad of topics with the usual Fox News hyperbole.
At the end of a week when the whole planet seems to be talking about Smith attack on Rock for a dig at Jada Pinkett Smith over her hair, where SNL then decided to go was to Justice Clarence Thomas and his increasingly infamous spouse Ginni Thomas, who seems to have been deep in the MAGA trenches over the 2020 election and the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
So, what we got were SNL’s heavyweights Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon as the apparent deeply compromised couple. “Justice Thomas always playing close to the vest, I respect that,” quipped Day’s Kilmeade as Thompson’s Thomas deflected even the most innocuous of inquiries. “Now Ginni, the Left is currently losing their minds over some completely normal texts you sent to your pal Mark Meadows on January 6, is that right?” Day’s keener Kilmeade added – as you can see below:
Justice Clarence and Ginni Thomas join the hosts of Fox & Friends to discuss their eventful week in the news pic.twitter.com/pADny2ERao
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) April 3, 2022
“I take my duty as the Yoko Ono of the Supreme Court very seriously,” SNL MVP McKinnon said as a crazy-eyed Mrs. Thomas holding on tight to her husband. “All I want is a tidal wave of Biblical vengeance to wash away the Biden crime family all the way to Gitmo and then we release the Kraken,” she went on to say, drawing rather extensively from Thomas’ actual now release texts to the former Celebrity Apprentice host’s last White House chief of staff.
Despite the wealth of easily mockable topics out there since SNL’s last new show last month, the Lorne Michaels produced series stuck with its tried and true Fox News schtick tonight. After the not very well mined sit-down with Justice Thomas and Ginni Thomas, the cold open shifted gears to FNC’s The Five and Cecily Strong back doing a boozy Judge Jeanine Pirro.
Diving at least a little deeper into topically available material, Strong’s Pirro jumped into a segment called “Disney vs America.” Spotlight the chaos at the House of Mouse over how to deal with Florida’s blatantly discrimatory “Don’t Say Gay’ law. “Now woke Disney won’t stop until all of Disney World is packed with Twinkerbells and Cinderfellas and that gay Mr. Toad.” Before literally cracking opening a beer, Strong’s Pirro also gave a plug for Kyle Rittenhouse’s new cookbook and some shout-outs to GOP Congressman Madison Cawthorn’s wild claims of cocaine and orgy invites in DC
It was all a bit of a let-down and cop-out as deuces were wild all week as to what Michael and the latest iteration of the Not Ready For Primetime Players would come up with to address the assault on one of their alums.
Some have wondered in whispers if the 1990-1993 cast member and three-time host Rock himself might show up on SNL tonight. Coming off a trio of nights in Boston opening his Ego Death World Tour, the New Jack City vet was just over 100-miles away from Manhattan in Atlantic City today for two evening shows at the Borgata Event Center.
Back for its first new show since March 12, SNL certainly had a lot to choose from for its cold open.
The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, Joe Biden’s strategic off-the-cuff call for regime change in the Kremlin, tomorrow’s Grammys, and this week’s launch of CNN+ had to all be candidates. There was the crazed partisan confirmation hearings of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the SCOTUS, and oh yeah, Smith’s widely condemned slap of Rock at the 94th Academy Awards on March 27.
Even as Saturday Night Live decided to pretty much skip the slap itself, there was still the fallout and blame game of Smith being allowed to stay at the Oscars to collect his Best Actor award after assaulting Rock. Plus, there was also in the last 30 hours, the former Fresh Prince’s resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences before the group’s Board of Governors made potential moves to toss the 20-year member out or suspend him.
A comedy goldmine by any measure, even if the incident at the heart of it was grim at best.
Tonight’s 16th show of SNL’s 47th season features Jerrod Carmichael in his hosting debut and rapper Gunna as musical guest. Next week will see Jake Gyllenhaal return for his second hosting stint (last time was in 2007), and Lizzo will be both host (her first time) and musical guest (her second time) on April 16. Worth noting that April 16 is just two days before AMPAS’ Board of Governors are set to meet to make their final decision on what punishment Will Smith should face for his self-described “shocking, painful, and inexcusable” behavior at the 94th Academy Awards.
Check out tonight’s cold open above.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.