Saturday Night Live returns to medieval times to tackle Roe v. Wade (and Depp v. Heard)
Saturday Night Live returned to 13th century England in the May 7 cold open to tackle the Supreme Court document leak signaling Roe v. Wade's reversal.
Host Benedict Cumberbatch and cast members Andrew Dismukes and James Austin Johnson play lawmakers responsible for a treatise referenced by Justice Samuel Alito in the leaked draft. "While I was cleaning the hole on the side of the castle where we poop and then it falls through the sky into a moat of human feces, I started to think about abortion," Cumberbatch says. "Don't you think we ought to make a law against that?"
"You mean like the law we have against pointy shoes?" Dismukes inquires. "Exactly. Something fair and reasonable like those laws," Cumberbatch says. "We should make a law that withstands the test of time, so that hundreds and hundreds of years from now, they'll look back and say, 'No need to update this one at all! They nailed it back in 1235!'" The lawmakers agree, but contend that perhaps abortion shouldn't be banned in all of England so their "concubines" could seek them elsewhere.
Cecily Strong, a fellow townsperson at the "almost child-bearing age of 12," overhears the discussion. "Shouldn't women have the right to choose since having a baby means like a 50% chance of dying?" Strong asks. Cumberbatch says, "That's why we're also offering maternity leave. When you're done with 20 years of continuous maternity, you can leave." Dismukes then inquires if exceptions should be made for rape or incest. "But those are the only kinds of sex," Johnson says.
When Strong maintains that there are more pressing issues at hand, including an ongoing plague, Dismukes says, "Oh, you think just 'cause I have active plague, I need to wear a mask? It's my body, my choice." Later, Chris Redd and Kate McKinnon appear as another townsperson and a witch (or "just a woman in her 30s"), respectively, to join the reenactment of the "profound moment of moral clarity" that laid the foundation for abortion laws in 2022.
Cumberbatch and co. vote to make abortion illegal, while Redd votes against it before adding, "I'm just playing! I know I can't vote." He quips, "You ever get the feeling this is not going to be your century?" McKinnon then enters as a witch who could see into the future. "Worry not, dear girl," she says to Strong. "These barbaric laws will someday be overturned by something called progress. And then, after about 50 years after the progress, they'll be like, 'Maybe we should undo the progress.'"
McKinnon continues, "I don't know why my visions from that time are very confusing. Seems like all of the power comes from a place called Florida." She adds, referencing Johnny Depp's ongoing defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, "And if you think our customs are weird, you should watch the trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard." No matter how many choices are taken away from women, though, "We've always got the choice to keep fighting!" McKinnon says.
Watch the cold open above.
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The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Michaels.