In the two weeks that’ve passed since Saturday Night Live’s last new episode, President-elect Donald Trump has given the show an overwhelming amount of material to work with thanks to a parade of troubling Cabinet picks, rampant conflicts of interest, unprecedented casual phone calls to foreign leaders, and of course, sporadic tweets meant to attack his critics and defend (some of) his most controversial actions.
Those tweets bore the brunt of SNL’s focus in its December 3 cold open, with Alec Baldwin returning to play a perpetually distracted Trump retweeting randoms instead of listening to his security briefings — and the show took pains to mention over and over that all the tweets mentioned in the sketch were real.
When Trump’s former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway (played by Kate McKinnon) suggested he was tweeting to distract the media from other, bigger issues, he shrugged off that justification with a simpler answer: “My brain is bad.”
And every time McKinnon’s Conway and a pair of security experts would try to keep Trump on task in listening to the briefing, SNL would almost immediately cut away to cast members playing whichever Twitter user Trump was retweeting instead — people whose bios featured such declarations as “liberalism is a cancer.”
As his staff grew visibly more anxious — while eyeing the iPhone clasped in his hand with increasing horror — Baldwin’s Trump remained unruffled.
“Next, I’m going to do what I promised my whole campaign,” he said. “I’m going to build … that … swamp.”
“Don’t you mean ‘drain the swamp’ and ‘build that wall’?” McKinnon’s Conway asked, hoping to guide him back to the point.
“No, that’s too many things,” he replied. “Just smush ’em together.”
The sketch’s security briefing then veered off into a state of panic over only having seven weeks left until Trump’s inauguration, continuing until the president-elect eventually welcomed chief strategist Steve Bannon into the room, played by a man wearing a Halloween Grim Reaper costume.
Okay, so in trying to catalog all of Trump’s recent antics, the sketch got pretty scattered. Maybe the SNL writers’ room was tired this week — but if the past 25 days have been any indication, the show should probably get used to having to pare down an embarrassment of Trump embarrassments to a number more manageable for a comedy sketch from here on out.
Update: That is where this article originally ended, but it didn’t take long for President-elect Trump to personally comment on SNL’s sketch:
Just tried watching Saturday Night Live - unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2016
As of press time, it was not clear whether Trump really did stop watching SNL after the cold open, whether he stuck around for Weekend Update’s continued hammering of his tweeting habits, or whether he understood the irony of tweeting about a sketch that depicted his tweeting as an impulse he can’t help but indulge.