Many of Saturday Night Live's recent cold open sketches could fairly be accused of presenting more of the same played-out political punning again and again, especially when it comes to the latest news about Donald Trump. However, the latest episode offered a fresh introductory ride, taking audiences all the way from the Senate floor to the pits of Hell, wherein the surprises and deliciously dangerous jokes just kept coming.
The cold open began with Beck Bennett and Cecily Strong appearing as Senators Mitch McConnell and Susan Collins as they reacted to the House of Representatives' presentation of impeachment charges against Trump. "Republicans are simply requesting a fair trial: no witnesses, no evidence. That way we can acquit President Trump and focus on the real criminals in this country, teenagers who try marijuana," NotConnell said of his rules for the proceddings. "Well, the evidence against Trump is pretty damning, so I'm still on the fence," Faux Collins added with a wink.
That part of the skit might've been more of the same near-rote caricaturing that has happened so many times before on SNL, but then things started to take an interesting turn, starting with the arrival of former show regular Jon Lovitz as Alan Dershowitz, the attorney and professor who has found his own name attached to certain high-profile news scandals but who will speak as part of Trump's defense next week.
"It's wonderful to be here because I'm not welcome anywhere else. There's a lot of haters out there for no good reason," DershoLovitz said. "But like I said to my client and my dear friend Jeffrey Epstein, 'Haters gonna hate.'" As he started to compare Trump to some other former clients of his — including O.J. Simpson — the Senate Majority Leader tried to tell him to x-nay on that alk-tay and move onto the substance of the defense. However, NotDersh then suffered a heart attack and found himself flung into fiery netherworld.
The good news for him was that Satan, as portrayed by Kate McKinnon, was quite an admirer of his work — a self-proclaimed "fangirl," even. Although she'd soon "send him back upstairs" to finish his business, she just had to interview him for her podcast (which she invented, of course). "How did you come up with this Trump defense because years ago, you said you don't need a crime to impeach the President, and now you say you need something crime-like," she asked. "I'm speechless, it's amazing ... and I gotta ask, is there anyone you wouldn't represent?"
SNL host Adam Driver soon popped in to star as one of Dershowitz's most infamous former clients, Jeffrey Epstein, and he delivered two lines so twisted that they each made Studio 8H's live audience audibly gasp. Joining Driver for the party in Hades were Bowen Yang as the guy who wrote "Baby Shark," Heidi Gardner as Flo from those Progressive commercials, and Alex Moffat as Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. It was an uneven culmination of characters to be sure, but at least SNL had something new to say this week!
Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30/10:30c on NBC.