Saturday Night Live got political again this week with several sketches lampooning members of the Trump administration, featuring Melissa McCarthy and Alec Baldwin reprising their roles as White House press secretary Sean Spicer and Donald Trump, respectively.
After her much-talked-about debut as Spicer last Saturday, McCarthy delivered a performance that arguably beat the original. And Alec Baldwin returned for hosting duties — his record 17th time, more than anyone else in the 42-year history of the sketch comedy staple.
In the show's cold open, which you can watch in the video above, the SNL producers answered the prayers of McCarthy fans. Setting the scene at a White House press briefing, "Spicey" was back at the presidential podium.
"I'm calm now and I will remain calm," Spicer says. "This is a new Spicey!" McCarthy's Spicer pulls out a gigantic piece of gum, unwraps it, rolls it up and uses both hands to stuff it into his mouth, laboriously chewing.
When asked by a reporter about President Trump's plans now that an appeals court has put his travel ban on hold, Spicer dismisses the question, soon afterward saying, "Don't eff with me, Glenn!" to the New York Times' Glenn Thrush (Bobby Moynihan).
In a dig at what some Trump critics call an underlying racism behind some policies, Spicer pulls out dolls to demonstrate how "extreme vetting" of refugees and travelers would work.
Showing a Barbie, symbolic of a "nice American girl," Spicer says, "We know she's OK because she's blonde." Then out comes Moana, a doll of one of Disney's latest characters, a teenage Polynesian girl with noticeably darker skin than the Barbie doll. "Uh oh," says McCarthy's Spicer, "slow your roll, honey." The TSA doll pats Moana down. "And then we're going to read her emails and if we don't like the answers — which we won't — boom, Guantanamo Bay!"
McCarthy's Spicer objects to a reporter questioning his statistics after he comments on the murder rate in Chicago, saying, "Eighty percent of the people in Chicago have been murdered." Spicer pulls out a leaf blower to blast at a reporter. Before making a getaway on a motorized podium, he remarks, "That was me just blowing away their dishonesty."
Baldwin's return to hosting
The New York audience greeted host Alec Baldwin with resounding fanfare as he returned to center stage for his monologue. In his opening comments, the 58-year-old actor took cast member Pete Davidson on a trip down memory lane as the show flashed back to April 21, 1990, for his very first time as host. "I can't believe that's you, I mean you were so handsome," Davidson says. "You should have been in movies."
"I've been in movies," countered Baldwin, adding that he has a new one coming out.
"That's animation so they can't see you, very smart," Davidson says.
Baldwin even reflected on the classic NPR parody, "The Delicious Dish," where he introduced his character Pete's "Schweddy balls" to the NPR ladies.
In the next sketch to take a dig at the Trump administration, Kate McKinnon, who seems to be playing everyone these days, portrayed Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway in a dark Fatal Attraction-like presentation. In a sketch, McKinnon's Conway is a psychotic stalker, showing up in the home of CNN anchor Jake Tapper (Beck Bennett), clad in lingerie and threatening him with a knife in order to be back on TV again.
CNN reportedly declined to have Conway as a guest over concerns of her "credibility."
Putin, Sessions mocked as well
The regular "Weekend Update" news segment, hosted by Colin Jost and Michael Che, started with a barrage of jokes about the Trump administration's controversies of the week.
In one barb, Colin Jost says that the country has sworn in "our new Confederate general — sorry, attorney general," in Jeff Sessions.
In a 1986 letter that gained new attention thanks to Sen. Elizabeth Warren last week, Coretta Scott King said Sessions used "the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens." During "Weekend Update," Kate McKinnon was back — yes, again — as Elizabeth Warren.
Around 12:30 a.m., Baldwin finally reprised his Donald Trump character on a sketch of The People's Court. It was Trump against three federal judges who ruled against him over the travel ban. "I want the ban reinstated, also I want $725!" he says.
When time comes to call a character witness, Donald Trump Jr. begins to stand, only for a shirtless Vladimir Putin (Beck Bennett) to burst through the door. "He's an amazing person, he knows me better than anymore," Putin says of Trump.
The final Trump reference was a video featuring Leslie Jones, an African-American woman, trying her skills impersonating Donald Trump, only for show head Lorne Michaels to tell her it's a no-go.
Thanks in part to the show's skewering of Trump, NBC says SNL is getting an average of 7.4 million viewers for each episode, and reaching the show's biggest audience in 22 years.