We’re deep into the 45th season of “Saturday Night Live” now, and also deep into the holiday season. In the most recent episode of “SNL,” which aired on Feb. 8, saw RuPaul make his hosting debut, with Bieber doing his third stint as the musical guest. The cold open was a parody of last week’s Democratic primary debate, with Larry David as Bernie Sanders and Colin Jost as Pete Buttigieg stealing the show.
In season 45, Alec Baldwin has made six appearances as Donald Trump thus far, starting in the premiere episode, and in the cold open on October 26, when he shared the stage with Darrell Hammond, the former “SNL” cast member who played Trump on the show for years. Baldwin popped up less often in season 44 than he did in the previous two seasons, when he would appear as Donald Trump in the cold open most weeks. Thus far he’s made one appearance per month in season 45 aside from January, which only had a single new episode.
Baldwin’s most recent appearance was in the Feb. 1 episode, when “SNL” imagined a version of Trump’s impeachment trial that actually made sense.
This week, on Saturday, February 15, there WILL NOT be a new episode of “SNL.” The next new episode is on Feb. 29, when “SNL” alum John Mulaney will host with David Byrne as the musical guest.
Since NBC is doing a rerun this week, “SNL” won’t do its simulcast from coast to coast, meaning it’ll air at the standard 11:30 p.m. on the East Coast and out West.
While season 44 saw “SNL” seemingly tire of doing political commentary late in the season, season 45 has seen it return its politics-heavy form. Every cold open this season has been political, and each has featured some surprise celebrity cameos. Including, perhaps most shockingly, Darrell Hammond’s brief appearance — Hammond was devastated three years ago when it picked Baldwin to play Trump over him. We’ve also seen Lin-Manuel Miranda and Billy Porter feature in one cold open, and Matthew Broderick in another.
While it certainly was surprising how light “SNL” was on politics in the back half of last season, it’s certainly no surprise that it’s back to its old ways given that we’re now neck deep in a new presidential election cycle. So the focus has been not just on mocking Trump, but also the circus that has been the run up to the Democratic primaries.
Not that the sketch show has in any way shied away from mocking Trump. The impeachment has certainly been a common topic for cold open sketches this season. There was the one where Baldwin’s Trump went through his contacts list trying to find a fixer who could make the impeachment stop, ending with a call to Liev Schreiber playing himself — Trump thought his character Ray Donovan, a fixer on the eponymous Showtime series was actually a real person.
There was also that one where “SNL” sent up the impeachment hearings by doing a “Days of Our Lives” parody that starred Jon Hamm.
As for the madness with the Democratic primary, we’ve had numerous big cameos in the debate sketches, as presumably “SNL” is already preparing for how season 46 will handle the general election this fall. So we’ve had Woody Harrelson make a couple appearances as Joe Biden, as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda as Julian Castro, Larry David as Bernie Sanders, Rachel Dratch as Amy Klobuchar, Fred Armisen as Michael Bloomberg, Mara Rudolph as Kamala Harris and Will Ferrell as Tom Steyer.
That’s a lot of cameos, and “SNL” actually managed to jam nearly all of those folks into a single sketch — a 12-minute debate parody from a late November episode. Miranda did not appear in that one, but he had previously popped up as Castro in October in a parody of the Democrats’ LGBTQ town hall that was moderated by Billy Porter in character as himself.
Meanwhile, the show is staying in-house for Elizabeth Warren, who has been played this season by “SNL” cast member Kate McKinnon several times, including a town hall sketch that she had all to herself.