After two episodes in a row with cold opens curiously devoid of anything related to the most significant events of the current moment, the latest “SNL” finally acknowledged U.S. politics with a sketch inspired by the only thing people were really talking about this week — the second Donald Trump impeachment trial.
But it was done in a weird way — as a parody of an episode of Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show looking back on the impeachment. But it did have a few highlights — like Aidy Bryant’s absolutely brutal impression of Sen. Ted Cruz, and Pete Davidson as Trump impeachment Lawyer Michael van der Veen.
Alex Moffat played Carlson and he was joined at the start by Kate McKinnon as Lindsey Graham, with the two of them absolutely gushing about how much they love Trump.
Next up was Bryant, whose bit largely roasted Cruz for what has to be one of the most cowardly displays of any politician in recent memory — the fact that in 2016 Trump called his wife Ugly and Cruz didn’t really defend her other than telling Trump to leave her “out of it,” then went on to become one of Trump’s most loyal followers.
The bit started when McKinnon’s Graham was joined by Bryant’s Cruz as guests on Tucker. “Wait, what does it say below me?” Bryant’s Cruz asked. She was referring to the chyron, which said “Trump said ‘wife ugly'”
“Oh yeah, that’s what Trump said about my wife,” Bryant’s Cruz said. “I think she’s beautiful but since Trump is the boss, sorry honey, you busted.”
“Just in time for Valentine’s Day,” Moffat’s Tucker said. “Wow. And can I say the beard is working?”
“Well, you’d be the first,” Bryant’s Cruz replied.
Shortly after this, Bryant’s Cruz explained one of the more ethically suspect things Cruz did this week. “Like any impartial juror, we took it upon ourselves to meet with the defense lawyers to give them some very simple legal advice: Stop, and don’t.”
Next was Mikey Day and Pete Davidson playing Trump’s attorneys. This bit ably skewered the Trump legal team’s absolutely river of bad faith and misrepresentations in defense of Trump. And Davidson really nailed van der Veen’s nonsensical legal stylings.
“My name is Mr. van der Veen. That’s Dutch for ‘man of the penis.’ I’ve heard it all, alright. First off let me say that I do not want to be here,’ Davidson said, speaking in a thick parody of a Philadelphia accent.
“I am not like you, okay. I’m not from Worshington — I’m a Philly boy. And I said that oover and oover. And this is the worst thing that’s been in the Senate chamber in the history of a couple weeks. Jiminy crickets! and now the House wants to bring up witnesses over Zoom? Zoom?”
“I can’t afford to Zoom! You think I’m getting paid for this? And this is supposed to be on my last day. I already bought a non-refundable train ticket back home to Phillyvania, Pennsyldelphia. But if they insist on witnesses, I’m gonna call some of my own, like vice president Kahlua Harris, Anya Pressley and Ilhan Omaha. Now, did I mispronounce the names of all these women of color on purpose, or out of ignorance? You’ll never know,” Davidson concluded.
This was followed by Beck Bennett as Mitch McConnell, here to defend McConnell’s logically nonsensical defense of his vote to acquit Trump.
And, once again, the show managed to avoid presidential-level politicians entirely. No Alec Baldwin as Trump, no Maya Rudolph as Vice President Kamala Harris, and no one playing President Joe Biden.
The last time the show did a Biden gag was Dec. 19 in the cold open of the Christmas episode when Alex Moffat was revealed as the surprise choice to replace Jim Carrey as Joe Biden. Moffat debuted as the show’s new Biden just hours after Carrey announced he was stepping down. Carrey of course played Biden in the first six back-to-back episodes of the current Season of “SNL,” but he got a mixed reception at best so perhaps that’s why he decided he was done.
As for Moffat, it was unclear at the time whether or not he was the show’s permanent new Biden or just a placeholder until they found someone else. Looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer for the answer.