“Saturday Night Live” returned after a three-week break with host Louis C.K., in his first time back since sparking backlash over his 2015 monologue jokes about child molestation. But the comic was a bit tamer this time around, aside from making a joke about bestiality.
But it was show staple Alec Baldwin who made the biggest impression of the night in his 15th and 16th appearances as President Donald Trump on Saturday, first in the show’s cold open and then doing double duty in another sketch as both the president and Bill O’Reilly.
Making up for lost time
Since the 2016 campaign, the show has made a greater effort to take on political issues and news swiftly, sometimes even altering the course of the episode when news breaks just before showtime.
“SNL” only missed three Saturdays, but in that time came a slew of events that seemed to be right in the show’s sweet spot. Among the topics the show managed to cram in this week: a viral photo of Trump honking a truck’s horn; a laughable statue of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo; dozens of companies pulling ads from Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor;” and Pepsi getting skewered for an ad featuring Kendall Jenner.
Double dose of Baldwin
The actor recently hinted that he might not play Trump much longer on the show, but he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Baldwin first turned up in the show’s opening monologue, playing Trump speaking to a group of voters in Boone County, Kentucky, where he tells them: “I know you people put me in office for one reason — to bomb Syria.”
Baldwin’s Trump can’t wait to find out what his supporters think about his actions in Syria. The voters express concerns closer to home: Losing their jobs, healthcare and houses.
“I love coal,” he assures a man who recently lost his coal job. “In Trump’s America, all men work in two places: coal mines and Goldman Sachs.”
In the end, the crowd vows to continue to support him even if he hasn’t done anything to improve their lives, praising them for standing by him “no matter what.”
“It’s like you found a finger in your chili, but you still eat the chili because you told everyone how much you love chili,” Baldwin as Trump says.
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Baldwin surprised viewers by turning up again later in the show with a brand new impression — embattled Fox News host O’Reilly, whose show has seen an exodus of advertisers following a report in the New York Times about past claims of sexual harassment.
Baldwin’s O’Reilly struggles to find a female correspondent willing to appear with him after “many women have come forward and accused me of offering them exciting opportunities here at Fox.”
Instead O’Reilly brings on President Trump, also played by Baldwin using a pre-recording on a split-screen.
Baldwin’s Trump is there to defend O’Reilly. The real President Trump defended the real Fox host this week.
When Baldwin’s O’Reilly asks the president what he is basing his defense on, Baldwin as Trump replies it was a “hunch, just a loose hunch.”
“Thank you for promoting sexual assault awareness month,” Baldwin as O’Reilly says.
“It’s a subject that’s near and dear to my hand,” Baldwin’s Trump replies, eliciting groans from the show’s studio audience.
“SNL” returns next week with host and former cast member Jimmy Fallon in which it will air live across all mainland U.S. time zones at once for the first time in its 42-year history.