After that massive comedy fail a few days ago by the real-life Donald and Hillary, Saturday Night Live’s serial political smackdown with Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon could have recycled an old Laurel & Hardy script tonight and still won the week. The show isn’t resting, though, and the bit’s victory lap headed into the home stretch.
With host Tom Hanks playing Fox News’ Chris Wallace, SNL‘s opening sketch targeted, of course, the third and final presidential debate – “It’s like the third Lord of the Rings movie,” Hanks as Wallace said. “You don’t want to watch but, hey, you’ve come this far.”
McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton, in a spotless white pantsuit, gets more confident every week – the actress and the character. In the first debate, she said, she set the table. In the second, she fired up the grill. “And tonight,” she glared, brandishing knives, “I feast.”
Baldwin’s Trump, like the man himself, tried to contain himself, promising to be “a sweet little baby Trump” before blurting, “They’re ripping babies out of vaginas!”
Thing is, SNL doesn’t have to exaggerate much these days. When Baldwin inevitably scowled about “bad hombres,” any punchline would have sufficed. SNL came up with a fine one: “Oh, Bingo!,” McKinnon yelled. “Bingo! I got a Bingo!”
Of course, some of the gags were better than others – Baldwin/Trump referring to the president of Mexico as “Mr. Guacamole” was a less-funny rehash of his calling Lester Holt “Coltrane,” but his sniffle-packed word salad about Iraq, ISIS, Iran and Mosul was flawless, and McKinnon’s ecstatic eye roll in reaction to the GOPer’s virtual concession was yet another little bit of evidence in the winnable argument that she’s the best physical comedian on TV today.
A couple other high points: The canned, uproarious planetary laughter at Trump’s “Nobody has more respect for women than I do” line, and Clinton’s immediate hawking of a limited edition “Nasty Woman” coffee mug.
The sweetest revenge, though, surely belonged to Baldwin – and I don’t mean his Trump. After his Donald listed a roster of lame supporters – Sarah Palin, Chachi – he crowed, “I’ve even got the best Baldwin brother, Stephen.”
Earlier this week, that ultra-conservative Baldwin had publicly snarked that Alec’s weekly SNL portrayal isn’t very funny. Tonight, baby brother was trumped.