This week’s “Saturday Night Live,” hosted by Simu Liu, opened with a packed Judge Jeanine Pirro sketch that touched on everything from the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict to Donald Trump’s potential 2024 run for president.
Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges on Friday after shooting three men and killing two of them at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2020, drawing outrage from many.
The recurring “SNL” segment, which featured Cecily Strong’s spot-on Jeanine Pirro impression, opened with the Rittenhouse verdict as Strong’s Pirro referred to Rittenhouse as a “lovable scamp,” who was arrested for doing “the bravest thing anyone can do — protecting a used car lot in someone else’s town.”
Mikey Day’s Judge Bruce Schroeder joined the sketch, as “SNL” took a jab at Schroeder’s perceived bias toward Rittenhouse during the trial, with Day’s Schroeder accidentally referring to Rittenhouse as “my client.”
The segment then introduced a pair of liberal commentators, played by Chloe Fineman and Chris Redd, who were both outraged by the verdict – although Redd’s Samuel Fields wasn’t surprised. “All we can hope for at this point is that this will be a call to finally change the system,” Fineman’s character said. To which Redd’s character replied, “And that call will go right to voicemail and the mailbox is full.”
And later in the cold open, Donald Trump appeared courtesy of new cast member James Austin Johnson’s uncanny impression. “I know you have a lot of thoughts on the infrastructure bill, so I’m just gonna let you riff while I sit here and get rock hard,” Pirro said as she threw to Trump, with the cold open then taking on the former president’s meandering speech patterns.
Johnson’s Trump teased a 2024 run for president, which he dubbed a reboot “just like iCarly.” He then pivoted from subject to subject, connecting Joe Biden to Obama to the female “Ghostbusters” to “Gossip Girl.” After shifting back to Pirro, she threw to Trump again who said, “Let’s do a word search this time.” A giant word search appeared on the screen and, as Trump’s strange rambling touched on a variety of subjects (Chris Christie, Dua Lipa and Bob the Builder), they were all circled in the puzzle.
Johnson, who joined “SNL” after going viral with his Trump impression online, made waves when he debuted as Trump on the NBC series in the Nov. 7 episode. He took over for Alec Baldwin, who played the former president in the run-up to the 2020 election.