For many Americans, the saddest thing about the short rise and fall of Anthony Scaramucci was not that he lasted only 11 days as White House communications director, losing the job before his scheduled start date had even arrived. It was not that he missed the birth of his child and that his wife filed for divorce, all reportedly for a job that never materialized. (A representative for Scaramucci’s wife says their divorce has nothing to do with Trump.)
No, the saddest thing was that all of this went down in July, so we never got a chance to see what Saturday Night Live would do with such tempting material.
SNL is in the middle of one of its hottest streaks in years, fueled in part by a political moment that feels uniquely ripe for satire. And the Mooch, with his theatrically overdone New-York-finance-bro vibes and apparent longing to call up New Yorker writers to go on long, profane, on-the-record tangents, is exactly the kind of character SNL would make a meal out of — if only his short tenure hadn’t happened in the middle of summer, when SNL is traditionally on hiatus.
Luckily, SNL has decided to extend its schedule this year. This August, it’s airing four primetime half-hour Weekend Update segments, so that it can keep riding its popularity wave for as long as possible. “SNL is having its best season in a quarter of a century — how many shows can say that?! — so we didn’t want them to take the summer off,” said NBC chair Robert Greenblatt in March.
The first summer episode of Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update aired on Thursday night, and at last, we got to see SNL’s take on the Mooch, when Bill Hader FaceTimed the show in character to discuss once again whether or not the Mooch said that Steve Bannon is trying to “s his own c.” (“Scaramucci” insists that he was misquoted: “I didn’t say that Bannon tried to s his own c. He did it! He made contact! I saw him! Tongued the tip!”)
As scandals involving major White House officials that suggest a fundamental and dangerous instability in our government go, Scaramucci’s managed to skirt being a horrifying disaster that puts our very existence into jeopardy, and become pretty entertaining instead. That’s because of Scaramucci’s fundamental powerlessness: He wasn’t hired to set policy or to enact change. He was hired to sell Trump’s agenda to America, and he was bad at it. Within that context, his grandiosity and his incompetence combined to form something that wasn’t so much threatening as it was hilarious.
And that’s what Hader leaned into in his smug, preening performance. “The Mooch has no regrets, baby!” he crowed. “All I did was sell my company, miss the birth of my child, and ruin my entire reputation, all to be king of idiot mountain for 11 days. The Mooch is loose!”