Kate McKinnon added another political gem to her Saturday Night Live tiara of a repertoire – boosting her portfolio of impersonations and rescuing an otherwise lackluster SNL in one big swoop. As a gloating, canary-stuffed special counsel Robert Mueller, McKinnon edged out even guest host Jessica Chastain as the episode’s MVP.
Appearing as a guest on Weekend Update (watch the clip above), McKinnon’s Mueller told co-anchor Colin Jost that he wanted to assure the American people the Russia investigation was proceeding apace.”I can’t discuss particulars of an ongoing investigation,” meaningful pause, “but, yeah, we good.”
McKinnon played the role as if Mueller was a kid who couldn’t wait to tell his parents about the terrific Christmas present he’d made them, busting to spill everything he knew, gleeful at having the goods.
“You gotta remember I have actual footage of,” another meaningful pause, “yeah, I want to tell you so bad,” McKinnon teased, adding at one point, “It’s gonna be fun. Oh man, Don Jr. he wrote in his Venmo description, ‘Russia…” Catching himself, McKinnon’s Mueller gushes, “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby, don’t do this.”
But she saved her best for last, describing what every Trump critic hopes to hear from the real Mueller. “You know how you loved the show Lost but it never really came together?” her Mueller said. “There was no satisfying ending?” Final meaningful pause, then: “This ain’t Lost.”
The Mueller character was one of four newcomers to the Weekend Update desk, the others – Stormy Daniels, Princes Harry and William – more interesting in concept than comedy.
Cecily Strong played Stormy, the former porn star alleged to have had a long affair with a very married Donald Trump that began minutes after Melania gave birth to Barron. The gist of the SNL bit was Daniels telling the country that she, in all her tawdry and politically confused messaging, is exactly what the country deserves.
“I’m, like, a liberal hero even though I’m a Republican porn star who likes Sarah Palin,” Strong’s Stormy said, later pointing to the audience and, Oprah-like, shouting “You get a Stormy! You get a Stormy!”
Also visiting Update, cast members Mikey Day and Alex Moffat, the frequent pairing who’ve made their take on the Trump boys – slick Don Jr and dimwit Eric – stick, took on another set of siblings. Their cosmetically enhanced Princes Harry and William, respectively, won’t have the staying power of the Trumps, but their brotherly teasing was reason enough for this appearance.
“Whenever the kids are being fussy and not going to bed,” says snarky Wills, Kate “puts on Suits and they’re out.” Suits, of course, features Meghan Markle, Harry’s future princess.
As for guest host Chastain, the Molly’s Game contender, like last week’s Sam Rockwell, sailed through on acting chops, though she lacked Rockwell’s edgy comic vibe. Her strongest moments came during “What Even Matters Anymore,” a game show parody in which her exasperated, increasingly drunken host asks contestants whether Donald Trump’s latest grotesquerie even, as the game says, matters anymore.
In a parody of this season’s The Bachelor, Chastain joined SNL‘s female cast members as one of mostly identical bachelorettes – all named Lauren – vying for the attention of this year’s man, Arie (Moffat), “a race car driver who, depending on the light, is handsome.”
SNL has done similar Bachelor parodies before, and if you’ve seen one… The same familiarity undercut two other sketches last night, their saving graces being that neither were particularly memorable their first time around. In the digital short “Doctor’s Orders,” Pete Davidson resurrected his one-note (and one word) character Chad, a blank-slate bonehead with an inexplicable appeal to beautiful, successful women (in last night’s iteration, a doctor played by Chastain).
Also back was Kenan Thompson’s has-been director whose long-ago brush with success on The Jeffersons has him coaching two actresses (Chastain, Leslie Jones) on the finer points of the old show’s comic ham.
Chastain and SNL newcomer Heidi Gardner played dumb in “Taco Math,” a bit in which two women, bent on self-improvement, can’t even understand a simple restaurant menu. One of the odder sketches from last night, and, charitably speaking, over-served and over-extended.
“Amazon’s New Headquarters,” a sketch that had Kyle Mooney’s Jeff Bezos interviewing applicants lobbying to host Amazon’s new headquarters. Essentially an excuse for the SNL cast to trot out otherwise unnecessary impersonations, the sketch featured Moffat’s Casey Affleck, Aidy Bryant’s Paula Deen, Chris Redd’s Cory Booker and Mikey Day’s Pitbull.
Another sketch, “Google Talk,” boiled the premise down even further, building the entire bit around an impression that might have been languishing in Mikey Day’s closet for years: Bart Simpson, or, more accurately, Burt Sampson, a man with an unfortunate resemblance to the animated brat. For Simpsons die-hards, mostly.
Nostalgia for the 1990s fueled another segment last night, a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air parody, with cast member Chris Redd as Will Smith rapping a new and much grittier introduction to the old series, with gang violence, mayhem and murder intruding on the ever-bright theme song. “I watched my own funeral from behind a tree,” Redd’s Smith sings, “I saw my mama cry as they buried me.” Worth sticking around for the final twist.
Finally, here’s Chastain’s monologue, with the actress getting some SNL support, musical and otherwise, to celebrate the MeToo movement and Saturday’s Women’s March. Like much of the rest of the episode, some real-world spirit was present, even if it had no place special to go.