NBC’s Saturday Night Live season 45 kicks off with a political parody sketch. In the “Cold Open” segment - a staple of the comedy series - U.S. President Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) seeks help from the title character from Showtime’s Ray Donovan.
On September 24, Speaker of the House Nance Pelosi officially initiated an impeachment inquiry against Trump. The decision was made after the U.S. President reach out to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who previously served as the U.S. Vice President under Barack Obama. The Ukraine scandal was preceded by a whistleblower complaint, which identified Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, as being involved in a conspiracy involving Zelensky. In contrast to real-life American drama, Ray Donovan follows a fictional “fixer” who helps influential figures resolve their problems: under-the-radar conflict management.
The latest Saturday Night Live "Cold Open” blends reality with fantasy. In the clip, Trump converses with Giuliani (Kate McKinnon) over the phone, with the underlying joke being that Trump’s lawyer can’t keep a secret. Saturday Night Live cast member Beck Bennett portrays U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, and new hire Bowen Yang briefly appears as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. For the final joke set-up, Cecily Strong portrays Fox News host Jeanine Pirro - a former judge - who offers cryptic advice about the “whistleblower thing” that “won’t go away.” When Trump calls whom he believes to be Ray Donovan, he’s reminded by actor Liev Schreiber that the fixer isn’t a real person. Trump then requests to be connected with fictional movie hitman John Wick, and also actor Liam Neeson - a man known for starring in revenge-themed action movies. Check out Saturday Night Live's "Impeachment Cold Open" below.
Saturday Night Live’s season 45 premiere was hosted by Woody Harrelson, with American musician Billie Eilish appearing as the the musical guest. Overall, Saturday Night Live didn’t stray too far from the usual format, and featured impressive debuts from the aforementioned Yang and fellow new cast member Chloe Fineman. During the summer, Saturday Night Live hired, and then fired, American comedian Shane Gillis, whose history of making homophobic, racist, and sexist jokes was seemingly overlooked by NBC during their initial vetting process.
In recent years, Saturday Night Live has been criticized for prioritizing political comedy over traditional sketch humor. Given that season 45 will parallel the 2020 presidential election process, it’s likely that creator Lorne Michaels will stick to the script, but will also poke fun at democratic candidates, evidenced by the sketch “DNC Town Hall." As for the latest “Cold Open,” it makes perfect sense that Saturday Night Live would address a pivotal moment in American politics, one that undoubtedly be the inspiration for zany situational comedy all season long.
Source: Saturday Night Live