With Halloween around the corner, it’s fitting that “Saturday Night Live” would open this week’s episode with something unsettling, like the latest presidential debate. Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump returned to go hair-to-head with Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton in this sendup, moderated by the night’s guest host, Tom Hanks, as Fox News’ Chris Wallace.
The unprecedented discourse in this election cycle, particularly from the GOP candidate, allows a mean-mugging Baldwin to draw laughs by simply repeating some of the real Trump’s words verbatim.
For instance, Trump dropped two new terms at the debate this week: “bad hombres” and “nasty woman,” the latter of which was directed specifically at Clinton. In the sketch, Baldwin pulls out a notecard to make sure he'd said everything he'd intended; one side of the card reads in large handwriting, "Nasty woman" and the other, "Bad hombres."
And, as McKinnon illustrated by playing a self-congratulating, sometimes smug Clinton, Trump’s consistent choice to cross such lines of generally acceptable social conduct might give Clinton the feeling that she’s got the election on lock.
Baldwin’s Trump did point out, though, that he’s ahead in every poll (well, every poll that’s conducted at a Cracker Barrel restaurant), and that, anyway, the election system is rigged against him. The media are to blame for much of that, he said.
Hanks’ Wallace asked Trump how it is that the media are making him look bad.
“By taking everything I say, and everything I do, and putting it on television,” he replied.
When McKinnon’s Clinton was asked about Wikileaks and the emails from her private server, she masterfully dodged the question and pivoted right to Trump’s treatment of women.
“Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” Baldwin’s Trump said, at which point cameras panned out to the SNL audience to show everyone laughing, hard, at the claim, which real Trump has made on more than one occasion. As Michael Che said later on the Weekend Update segment, “Nobody has more respect for women than you do? What about other women? What about RuPaul?”
The debate cold open ended with the Democratic candidate pledging to be a “stone-cold B” if elected, while Trump promoted the probably-not-real Nov. 9, 2016, launch of Trump TV.
Nine-time host Tom Hanks ("Inferno," “Sully”) performed a monologue in a cardigan as “America’s dad,” gently coaching the country through difficult times as one might an adolescent daughter or son (“Sure, China might be popular right now, but you, you are so dang creative!”) and lamely offering up cautionary advice (“You’ve got a lotta guns, kiddo — do you need all those guns?”) that will likely go unheeded.
Kenan Thompson hosted "Black Jeopardy!" in the episode’s first post-opening sketch. Cast members Sasheer Zamata and Leslie Jones took two of the contestant spots, while Hanks' character Doug, a stereotypical "blue collar" Trump supporter, took the third. Despite all low expectations, white contestant Doug performed competitively, impressing the host and other contestants with his distrust of the government and his appreciation for sturdily built females and Tyler Perry films. But just as everyone was feeling like maybe they weren’t so different from one another after all, it was time for Final Jeopardy. The category? “Lives That Matter.”
“Well, it was fun while it lasted, Doug,” Thompson said, closing out the sketch.
As Saturday saw the 11th in a series of women come out to publicly accuse Donald Trump of sexual misconduct, the Weekend Update segment went for the GOP candidate right away.
On Trump alleging that his women accusers are just looking for their "10 minutes of fame”: “He’s so cheap, he’s lowballing them on their minutes of fame.”
Mocking the GOP candidate’s seeming inability to keep from behaving like a reality show personality: “‘I’ll tell if you if I’m going to tear apart the fabric of our democracy…right after this break.”
Cast member Leslie Jones guested on Weekend Update, addressing cybersecurity in the wake of this week’s massive DDoS attacks on a DNS company in New Hampshire. Major sites from Twitter to Netflix to Soundcloud were all taken down Friday in a highly coordinated attack.
Jones was personally the victim of hackers earlier this year, and on Saturday’s show she called out trolls for sitting behind their screens rather than confronting people in real life. Also, she said, she’s not trying to hide anything, so why bother hacking her? “If you want to see Leslie Jones naked — just ask!” she said.
Cecily Strong appeared as her “Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party” character, sloshing white wine and passionately mispronouncing hot takes on the election.
Alec Baldwin joined Tom Hanks for a Sully-related sketch.
Several other sketches were Halloween-themed, including one featuring Hanks debuting a character, David Pumpkins, who may or may not be the scariest Halloween character of all time.
Lady Gaga performed two songs from her new album “Joanne”: “A-Yo” and “Million Reasons.”