We’re deep into the 45th season of “Saturday Night Live” now, and also deep into the holiday season. The most recent episode of “SNL,” which aired on March 7, was hosted by Daniel Craig. Craig was there to promote the new Bond film, “No Time To Die,” though of course that movie was already delayed by the time his episode occurred, and most movie theaters in the US are now closed to try to curb the spread of coronavirus.
But we still got Bond jokes. During Craig’s monologue, “SNL” trotted out a new digital short parodying those casino scenes that pop up so often in the franchise. The bit sees Bond go on a winning streak in craps and lose his cool as the rowdy casino crowd rallies around him.
That episode’s cold open was also a doozie, featuring a very surprising appearance by Elizabeth Warren. As in, the real Elizabeth Warren. The former presidential candidate, who dropped out of the race days before her “SNL” appearance, delivered one zinger after another and even shared the stage with cast member Kate McKinnon doing her familiar Warren impersonation.
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, March 28, there WILL NOT be a new episode of “SNL.” There was originally supposed to be a new episode this weekend — John Krasinski was going to host, with Dua Lipa appearing as the musical guest. But with the coronavirus situation being what it is, “SNL” is currently on an unplanned hiatus that will last at least through April 11.
It’s unclear at this time whether Krasinski and Dua Lipa will keep their slots whenever “SNL” does return. But given the way things have been going in the States it’s entirely possible that the sketch show won’t return until season 46 in the fall. “SNL” typically ends its seasons the weekend before Memorial Day weekend — this year, that would put the finale on May 16.
As NBC often does on weekends without a new episode, it will run two old episodes on Saturday night. The first is a shortened version of the season 44 episode hosted by Adam Sandler, which will start at 10 p.m. on both the East and West Coasts. Then, at the normal 11:30 slot, they’ll air the Scarlett Johnasson-hosted episode from this past December.
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 — and you can’t really get much more political than having a major presidential candidate make an appearance.
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. Though perhaps the real Warren might make more appearances in the future.