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“Judge him by his face”: SNL’s cold open tackles the Matt Gaetz allegations, Satanic Panic, and Pepe Le Pew

Pete Davidson plays a scandal-plagued Rep. Matt Gaetz on the talk show Oops, You Did It Again.

This week, Saturday Night Live brought back the talk show Oops, You Did It Again, hosted by Chloe Fineman’s Britney Spears and sponsored (fictitiously) by Georgia — “voted best place not to vote,” according to Fineman — to tackle the news of the week in its cold open.

A slate of guests — Chris Redd as rapper Lil Nas X, Kate McKinnon as amorous cartoon skunk Pepé Le Pew, and Pete Davidson as scandal-plagued Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz — appeared on the talk show-within-a-comedy-sketch-show to discuss their controversies and be judged innocent or “not that innocent” by Fineman.

“My first guest tonight has been attacked by the rare combo of the Catholic Church and Nike,” Fineman announces as Redd, wearing red braids and a pentagram necklace, takes the stage.

As Vox’s Aja Romano has explained, Lil Nas X “jump-started the 21st century’s first foray into Satanic Panic by selling blood-infused Nikes” and giving Satan a lap dance in a music video for his new song, “Montero (Call Me by Your Name),” last month.

Since then, as the New York Times wrote last week, Lil Nas X has been at the center of a firestorm of right-wing outrage, “casually but thoroughly smacking down the ream of Twitter churls” tweeting about him — including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

“People are afraid of me because I’m different,” Redd’s Lil Nas X says, “but really I’m just your typical gay Black country rap sneaker entrepreneur. I put my pants on like everyone else, one assless chap at a time.”

At Fineman’s invitation, Redd also gives a lap dance to God — “just to even things out” — before Fineman introduces her next guest: Kate McKinnon with a French accent, a cigarette holder, and a bulky skunk costume, as Looney Tunes character Pepé Le Pew.

It was reported last month that Pepé Le Pew would not reprise his original Space Jam appearance in the upcoming movie Space Jam: A New Legacy, which stars Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

“If you think I’m problematic,” McKinnon tells Fineman, “the problematic Looney Tune, I have two words for you: Speedy Gonzales. And you didn’t hear this from me, but the FBI is 90 percent sure Yosemite Sam was at the Capitol riots.”

McKinnon also apologizes for Pepé Le Pew’s previous conduct in cartoons, which New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote “normalized rape culture” in a column last month discussing racism in children’s culture.

“I realize that Pepé love women, but what Pepé needs to do now is listen to women. And of course, I’m in treatment for sex addiction,” McKinnon says.

Pete Davidson as Gaetz — introduced by Fineman as “a hot mess; as we’d say today, a full-on sex pest” — is the sketch’s last guest.

“My name is Matt Gaetz. Like Bill Gates, but with a z at the end, like a cool version for teens,” Davidson says before attempting to backtrack away from the topic.

The real-world Gaetz, an ardently pro-Trump House member, is facing sex trafficking allegations after the New York Times reported last week that Bill Barr’s Justice Department opened a still-ongoing investigation last year into whether Gaetz engaged in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old who traveled with him across state lines.

Gaetz is also facing a number of other allegations, including alleged illegal drug use and paying women for sex. CNN reported last week that Gaetz “showed off to other lawmakers [in Congress] photos and videos of nude women he said he had slept with,” an allegation that Davidson describes to Fineman as “not a crime... just horrifying!”

“I don’t know, Matt,” Fineman’s Spears says. “I think I can spot a teen predator when I see one. After all, I was on Mickey Mouse Club!”

Davidson also attempts to compare himself to McKinnon’s Pepé Le Pew and offers to perform a lap dance to diffuse tensions, but is roundly rejected in both cases.

“If you come anywhere near me,” Redd’s Lil Nas X says, “just remember I have hip-hop friends and country friends, the two populations that are guaranteed to own guns.”

Ultimately, Fineman judges Lil Nas X innocent and Pepé Le Pew “not that innocent.” Of Gaetz, she says, “I’m not legally allowed to call you innocent or guilty, so I’ll just encourage everyone to judge him by his face.”

“Uh-oh,” Davidson deadpans before the cast declares that “live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”

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