UPDATED with video: Kate McKinnon is clearly the most reliable and talented cast member on Saturday Night Live and this week she was front-and-center for the show’s cold opening in a skit spoofing Laura Ingraham and goofing on Fox News for its breathless coverage of the immigrant caravan that’s winding its way north.
The caravan was portrayed in footage as a swarm of snapping crabs, a vast army of fast-moving zombies and rioting shoppers busting into a retail store. (The caravan was also, oddly, described as Brad Pitt’s new romantic interest.) The Trump plan for the crisis was described by the wide-eyed McKinnon as a deployment of “five armed soldiers for every one shoeless immigrant child.” McKinnon also revealed the codename for that military mobilization: “Operation Eagle with a Huge Dong.”
Cicely Strong lent a hand with the skit as did Keenan Thompson who delivered the most memorable line. In Western wear and portraying former Wisconsin lawman David A. Clarke, Jr., Thompson explained the dire situation approaching from the south: “We’ve also learned that all the women in the caravan are more than nine months pregnant. And they’re holding the babies in until the exact moment when they cross over the border. Then they are going to literally drop anchor. And the babies — get this — are pregnant.”
The Friday arrest of Alec Baldwin in New York after a confrontation over a parking spot got a quick reference at the end of the opening sequence. McKinnon’s Ingraham said the next story up was about “disgraced former actor Alec Baldwin” and the inset photo showed Baldwin and Adam Sandler from a notorious 1994 SNL moment: The Canteen Boy sketch that was criticized for mocking child molestation after it showed Sandler’s feckless character sharing a sleeping bag with a scoutmaster.
Time will tell, but was Baldwin originally set to open the episode in his Emmy-winning recurring role as President Trump? It would have been a natural choice with Tuesday’s elections. Was McKinnon asked to step as the bail-out option? The finished skit was not especially elaborate or focused. If Baldwin’s arrest on Friday led to a late-in-the-game decision to rework the opening, turning to trouper McKinnon in a familiar role is exactly what producers would seek as a plug-in option. In related fake news, Baldwin’s former 30 Rock cohort, Tina Fey, showed up in the next segment as well.