This weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” was packed with familiar characters: Alec Baldwin was back as President Trump, the Grim Reaper played Stephen K. Bannon, Beck Bennett was Vice President Pence, and Melissa McCarthy returned as Sean Spicer — unhinged and angry as always.
But there was also a new character: guest host Jimmy Fallon, as the dialogue-free, bulletproof vest-wearing Jared Kushner.
The show’s cold open began with Baldwin’s Trump sitting in the Oval Office, reflecting on his first 100 days as president. Bennett’s Pence, a folder in hand, stands next to Trump.
“I’ve been president almost 100 days, and I’ve already accomplished so much,” Trump says, telling Pence to read him a list of his accomplishments.
Pence opens the folder and reads, “Nominated Neil Gorsuch.” He closes the folder.
Trump then goes on to reminisce about the “great memories” he’s had inside the office. What follows is a lampooning of the president’s weekly visits to what’s been dubbed his “Winter White House.” As he mentions one memory, Pence quickly reminds him where it actually happened.
Trump: “I met with the Chinese president.”
Pence: “That was at Mar-a-Lago, sir.”
Trump: “This is where I ordered the Syrian strike.”
Pence: “That was also at Mar-a-Lago, sir.”
Trump: “This is where I showed classified information to the Japanese prime minister.”
Pence: “That was in front of a bunch of waiters at Mar-a-Lago, sir.”
Baldwin’s Trump later drifts onto the topic of North Korea, and Pence urges him to focus on something more pressing at home: The feud between Bannon and Kushner, his two advisers.
The Grim Reaper enters as Bannon.
And then Fallon, dressed as Kushner when he visited Iraq: shades, blazer, khaki pants and a military vest.
The first few minutes of the cold open were a build-up for what was next: Elimination night, “The Apprentice” style.
As Trump sends Pence out of the room, Bannon and Kushner stand in front of him, waiting for the president to announce who gets to remain as his adviser. The loser has to immediately leave the Oval Office and “join Kellyanne Conway in the basement,” Trump said.
“Jared, you take the most beautiful photos. Steve, you take the worst photos I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m not joking,” Trump said, as ominous music plays in the background. “Jared, I’ve sent you all around the world to represent me, but no one’s ever heard you speak.”
After much anticipation, Trump, of course, picks Kushner, a choice that mocked the actual diminishing of Bannon’s role in the White House. The Grim Reaper is then dragged out the door by another Grim Reaper.
“Jared, you’re such an inspiration. You showed everybody that if you were born rich and married my daughter, you can do anything you want … Just fix everything, okay?” Trump tells the still-silent Kushner before retreating to a miniature version of his desk to play with a toy.
This week’s cold open didn’t include what was perhaps one of the most memorable White House gaffes last week, when White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Adolf Hitler didn’t “sink to using chemical weapons,” even though he had gassed millions of Jews.
But McCarthy reprised her ever-seething version of Spicer later in the show.
Standing behind a lectern and wearing an Easter Bunny costume, McCarthy’s Spicer went straight to the point.
“Yes, you all got your wish this week, didn’t you, huh? Spicey finally made a mistake,” Spicer said. “As you all know, President Trump recently bombed Syria while eating the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake America has ever laid eyes on. That’s a fact!”
Spicer talked about the Hitler gaffe and Bashar al-Assad, massively butchering the Syrian president’s name. (The real-life Spicer had mispronounced Assad’s name during a White House briefing last week). He brought up the “Holocaust centers,” ridiculing the real Spicer’s use of the term.
“I know they’re not really called Holocaust centers. Duh! I know that. I’m aware,” Spicer said. “I clearly meant to say concentration — clubs.”
And then, bringing in the other public-relations disaster of the week:
“I am sensitive to the fact that they were sent there on trains,” Spicer said. “But, hey, at least they didn’t have to fly United, am I right? That one just jumped. That one just jumped right out of my mouth.”
As he wrapped up his White House briefing, Spicer got into a car shaped like a cracked egg and then plowed into the lectern.