“Saturday Night Live” was dominated by a volley of whistleblower jokes as the 45th season kicked off with Alec Baldwin declaring in his President Trump guise, “It’s the greatest presidential harassment of all time. I would know; I’m like the President of Harassment.”
Cycling through a who’s who of Trump World characters, Baldwin asked for advice from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, played by new cast member Bowen Yang. The dictator’s advice: stick the whistleblower in the bottom of the ocean.
Baldwin’s Trump expressed admiration for the tactic.
Woody Harrelson cracked jokes in the show’s opening monologue. He tiptoed past the controversy that swirled around the show in recent weeks — when the show hired Shane Gillis to its cast and then junked the comic when videos surfaced showing him using racist and homophobic slurs in his “comedy.”
Harrelson ended a joke mocking concerns about an Asian takeover of the country by saying “I’m Asian too — Caucasian.”
Larry David returned in his grumpy Bernie Sanders persona. He declared his impatience in all things and offered free refills on medium-size sodas in an “Impeachment Town Hall.”
Maya Rudolph played Kamala Harris in the debate, and Kate McKinnon played Elizabeth Warren. Harrelson did his best Joe Biden.
Billie Eilish, the 17-year-old singer-songwriter, was the musical guest. She performed a ceiling-walking rendition of “Bad Guy.”
Colin Jost and Michael Che did their usual rundown on the news. Che joked about the slow churn of the presidential impeachment process.
“Maybe I just don’t understand politics well, because when they said Trump is getting impeached, I immediately thought, great, Trump’s fired, let’s get drunk,” Che said. “But they’re like — no, he’s just being impeached, but he ain’t exactly peached yet. It’s still gonna take another year or so. And I’m like, dang, that sucks, let’s get drunk.”