Saturday Night Live recap: Claire Foy and Alec Baldwin welcome guest stars galore
Alec Baldwin returns as a sullen Donald Trump, who mulls legal woes on a balcony at the Park Hyatt in Argentina after he and First Lady Melania (Cecily Strong) unwind after a taxing day of diplomatic relations at the G20 Summit. Though Baldwin lands a few moderately funny quips (“There are a bunch of old German guys who are really into what I’m saying here,” he says of the South American country) and Kate McKinnon makes a laugh-out-loud appearance as Rudy Giuliani (who literally sprouts bat wings and flies off the balcony), the intro wastes a surprise appearance by Ben Stiller as Michael Cohen. Though Stiller has little to work with, former SNL actor Fred Armisen picks up the slack as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who enters the scene alongside Vladimir Putin (Beck Bennett) for an overt display of bromantic affections (over-the-top high-five, anyone?) that sends Trump into a jealous fit before the whole group returns to sing a rendition of signature Evita track “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” in the wake of the Mueller probe. “It’s just a witch hunt,” the group sings to close out the number (and the sketch). “And we’re all witches!”
As her home country is currently embroiled in Brexit drama, English actress Claire Foy kicked off her first SNL monologue by giving thanks for being “in a country that’s more chaotic than Britain,” which she likened to being drunk and nervous at a party until “you see someone who’s much more drunk than you are.”
Foy admits she knows being a “foreigner” might cause Americans to panic, but she reassures the masses by joking that she’s “only taking the jobs that Americans don’t want.” Such as, Ms. Foy? “In First Man, I had to play Ryan Gosling’s wife because nobody else wanted to do it! I had to!”
The Girl in the Spider’s Web star then wrapped up her brief monologue by championing the increasing number of female officials being elected to office (“Hopefully I can get even more roles [now]” she says) and a silly anecdote about meeting Queen Elizabeth II, whom she played across two seasons of the Netflix drama The Crown: “She said absolutely nothing about The Crown, not a single word!” Foy said to nervous audience laughter before delivering the awkward punch: “Of course this was three years before I did The Crown.”
Admit it: You’ve always thought it was weird that Charlie’s grandparents all slept in the same bed in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. In a blissfully juvenile sketch based on the classic movie, Charlie (Foy) approaches his grandparents (Heidi Gardner, Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney, Aidy Bryant) to bid them goodnight as the foursome settles into bed — well, except for Mooney and Bryant, who proceed to have sex with everyone still in the room. Things escalate quickly, with the couple’s actions rocking the giant bed — and eventually the whole house — before the scene ends. Though it’s a far cry from SNL‘s current brand of hot-topic humor, it’s also a welcome jolt of simple, unabashed, dirty silliness the show has largely ignored in recent years.
The setup for Good Morning Goomah — Staten Island Cable’s premier morning talk show hosted by two heavily accented New Yorkers — is funny enough (who doesn’t want to see Foy and McKinnon riffing in their finest guidette ensembles), the sketch never rises above relying on mere mimicry to generate laughs. Sure, the sight of Foy and McKinnon in sky-high wigs and leopard pants might inspire a chuckle or two, but stretched across several minutes with nowhere to go beyond “Hey, aren’t these accents weird?” things get old. Fast.
As usual, most of Michael Che and Colin Jost’s jokes rang political, with some of the best punchlines coming at the expense of Michael Cohen — whom Jost called the “love child of Cellino & Barnes” — and Bill Clinton: “Do you think the [White House] Christmas display would have been better if Hillary had won?” Jost asked the audience, referring to Melania’s now-infamous blood-red Christmas trees lining the White House halls. “Bill would be doing the decorating, so that hallway would just be 100 percent leg lamps [from A Christmas Story].”
It was Che, however, who landed a so-simple-it’s-genius joke that registered as the segment’s funniest. Referencing a 2,800-pound cow that made headlines earlier this week, Che quipped: “An Australian rancher says that a six-foot-tall steer weighing over one ton is too big to go to the slaughterhouse. ‘Yeah, me too’ said three cows in a trench coat.'”
Weekend Update closed this week’s edition with a video tribute to the late President George H.W. Bush, featuring footage of SNL alum Dana Carvey’s impression of the former leader as well as a sketch in which Bush himself lightheartedly addressed the actor’s impersonation.
What’s more festive than opening gifts under the tree on Christmas Day? Flying to “somewhere in Florida that does not have a beach” to visit your recently divorced father and his new girlfriend for “Dad Christmas,” the fictional holiday outlined in a commercial presented to an eager brother-sister duo (Foy, Davidson) by a jolly travel agent (Bryant). Instead of stockings, garland, and the usual holiday trimmings, the kids instead find the halls decked with Hawaiian shirts, Jimmy Buffett music, a rickety futon, and a strange “lady who wants to be called by her first name” (surprise: it’s McKinnon as a woman smoking a cigarette while she sits on dad’s lap).
Bryant then launches into a “Dad Christmas” jingle (set to the tune of Wham!’s “Last Christmas”), at the end of which she promises the now-dejected siblings their holiday blues will soon perk up: “When you’re older, he’ll let you do drugs here.”
Best surprise guest
Though Baldwin, Stiller, and Armisen joined SNL for the cold open, rap superstar Kendrick Lamar’s energy stole the show as he joined musical guest Anderson .Paak to perform their collaboration “Tints” from the former’s latest studio album Oxnard.