You knew that “Saturday Night Live” would tackle the impeachment inquiry into President Trump in its opening sketch this week, and that it would include an unannounced appearance from a celebrity ringer. (This time it was Jon Hamm as William B. Taylor Jr., the top United States diplomat to Ukraine). But were you expecting it in the form of a melodramatic daytime soap opera?
This weekend’s “S.N.L.” broadcast, which featured Harry Styles as its host and musical guest, began with a voice-over lamenting the fact that this week’s impeachment hearings were criticized by the news media as “‘lacking in pizzazz,’ ‘dull’ and ‘not ‘The Masked Singer.’”
“So to make sure people are paying attention,” the voice-over continued, “we now present the hearings in a way that underscores how scandalous these revelations really are.”
Thus began “Days of Our Impeachment,” a soap opera parody that featured Alex Moffat as Adam Schiff, Mikey Day as Jim Jordan and Cecily Strong as Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine. As the announcer explained, “the only thing at stake is democracy.”
Strong began by testifying, “I’m only here today because I was the target of a smear campaign by President Trump and Rudy Giuliani that left me publicly humiliated and without a job.”
Day retorted: “Enough! This witness is clearly here because she loves attention.”
“Oh, yeah,” said Strong. “I love the glamour and the spotlight. That’s why I spent my career in Ukraine and Somalia.”
Kate McKinnon appeared in her recurring role as Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer. “I’ve got an insurance policy in case the president turns against me,” she explained. “I’m going to die in a mysterious boat explosion.”
Hamm asked her, “So you’re going to fake your own death?”
“Oh, I can fake it?” McKinnon replied. “Oh, great, I’ll do that.”
The parade of impressions continued with Beck Bennett as the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell (“The Senate has voted. Acquitted”); Kyle Mooney as Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union; Pete Davidson as the lawyer Michael Avenatti (“You haven’t seen the last of … who am I playing again?” Davidson said); and even Kenan Thompson as the Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who was suspended indefinitely from the N.F.L. for pulling off an opposing quarterback’s helmet and striking him with it. (“President Trump just pardoned me, too, for the war crimes. He said I could bring a helmet to Afghanistan and just go nuts.”)
Melissa Villaseñor appeared as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who in the sketch was implied to be in a steamy affair with Taylor. “I didn’t expect to see you here,” Hamm’s Taylor said to her.
“And I didn’t expect you to be such a low-key daddy,” Villaseñor replied.
‘Weekend Update’ Jokes of the Week
Over at the “Weekend Update” desk, the anchors, Colin Jost and Michael Che, continued to riff on the impeachment inquiry hearings.
Former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch testified yesterday at the impeachment hearing, and you know she made Trump nervous because he tweeted this during her testimony: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” Well, as long as we’re talking about track records, Trump started off in Atlantic City. How did that go? Even Fox News thought attacking Yovanovitch was a bad move. [Video plays of the Fox News personality Kennedy saying, “It makes him look like a big, dumb baby”]. And that’s what they’re saying on his favorite channel. That’s like if your kid turned on Nickelodeon and Dora was like, “Hey, you’ll never learn to read, fatty.”
That impeachment hearing was crazy. I was watching it at home, like we were supposed to, and I was like, “What?” I didn’t watch it per se, but I got the gist of it, just now, when you were talking about it. Can I be honest? I don’t think I care if Donald Trump is actually guilty. I just want something to happen to him. O.K., hypothetically, if you found out for a fact that Donald Trump was actually innocent but they were sending him to jail anyway, would you mind?
‘Weekend Update’ Deskside Bit of the Week
McKinnon reprised her role as Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general, who was quizzed by Jost about Sessions’s plans to pursue a Senate seat in Alabama and about a kickoff campaign video that has been criticized as overly deferential to the president. “Don’t forget, I was the very first person to endorse Mr. Trump,” McKinnon said. “I’m a pioneer, like Neil Armstrong. Only instead of flying to the moon, I dug straight down to hell.”
Over the course of her exchange with Jost, McKinnon continued to record more campaign statements that groveled before the president. (“When you called animal control on me, I just got right in that little cage,” she said.)
Finally, Jost asked her: “Where is your dignity? How do you sleep at night?”
McKinnon answered: “Why would I sleep at night? That’s when everybody throws out their apple cores.”
Chicken Sandwich Sketch of the Week
Styles was featured in this segment about a British intern and his dismayed co-workers (including Thompson and Ego Nwodim), who try to make clear to him that he is taking on more than he realizes when he volunteers to buy Popeyes chicken sandwiches for the office.
“So you want to go to a Popeyes, alone, in the middle of lunch rush, then buy up all the chicken sandwiches?” Nwodim asked him.
Styles said that, if necessary, he would raise his voice, “even if the cashier’s a woman.” To which Chris Redd, playing a janitor, replied, “Son, I don’t even know you, but I don’t think I can let you do this.”
After Styles voiced a few more bad ideas, like wearing a big backpack and a long coat for the pickup, Thompson pulled him aside: “I’ve got to level with you,” he said. “There’s not many things in this country where our people get first dibs, but the Popeyes chicken sandwich, that’s one of them.”
“Imagine if I went to a Whole Foods,” Nwodim added, “and bought up all those White Claw seltzers you all like.”
Music Video Dedicated to a Dog of the Week
It may not be immediately clear what this segment featuring Aidy Bryant as a newly single woman named Joan is about, but give it a moment to reveal itself for what it is: a song in which Bryant announces that her new boyfriend is her dog, a 12-pound Chihuahua named Doug.
Not weird enough? Watch as Bryant’s fantasy goes to the next level and Doug is transformed into Styles, who serenades her in appreciation and is astonishingly committed as he acts out dog-like behavior (like eating out of a garbage can and cowering in fear at a vacuum cleaner).