In the premiere of “Saturday Night Live” Season 45, actor Alec Baldwin reprised the role of President Donald Trump, who is overwhelmed by an impeachment inquiry sparked by a whistleblower complaint. The season's first episode is filled with references to the ongoing developments around a call between Trump and the Ukrainian president.
Two hundred and twenty-five House Democrats and one Independent united to start the impeachment inquiry after a whistleblower detailed a July 25 call in which Trump pressed new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son.
The declassified complaint also alleges that the White House tried to “lock down” details of the call by filing official notes of the call in a classified computer system. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several prominent Democratic lawmakers have accused the president and the White House of trying to cover up the incident.
In the “SNL” cold open, Baldwin’s Trump scrambles to make calls to his three “stooges”: lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (played by Kate McKinnon), Attorney General William Barr (Aidy Bryant) and Vice President Mike Pence (Beck Bennett).
Trump mentioned both Barr and Giuliani repeatedly in his call with the Ukrainian leader.
“It’s the greatest presidential harassment of all time,” Baldwin’s Trump said of the impeachment inquiry. The real President Trump described the move in similar terms, slamming the inquiry as “presidential harassment” in a Tuesday tweetstorm.
Eric Trump (Alex Moffat) and Donald Trump Jr. (Mikey Day) also appear to offer up their reactions to the news.
Bowen Yang, the show’s first Asian cast member, as North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un offers Trump advice on how to deal with the whistleblower.
“Famous” rapper Kanye West (Chris Redd) and boxing promoter Don King (Kenan Thompson), however, call to inform the president that they’re ending their friendship with Trump because “the impeachment thing is hurting our brand.”
West, who used his stage as a musical guest on “SNL” to give a long rant in support of the president; and King, who notoriously dropped the n-word when introducing then-presidential nominee Trump at a 2016 Ohio pastors conference, are both longtime Trump supporters.
Fox News host Jeanine Pirro (Cecily Strong) and “Ray Donovan” actor Liev Schreiber, as himself, also appear.
In his monologue, host Woody Harrelson lauds his evolution from a frump to a fashionista on the cover of Esquire.
”Now I care about one thing and one thing only — looking good,” Harrelson said just before he removing his tux to reveal a pair of silk purple pajamas.
The actor also shared that “SNL” writers wanted to help him write his monologue in fear he’d accidentally say something offensive. Harrelson, making no attempt to placate those fears, incorporated several intentional gaffes and double entendres in his monologue. He even made a swipe or two at Fox News.
The show’s focus on the impeachment inquiry and the whistleblower complaint continued in the season's first “Weekend Update.”
Colin Jost made fun of Giuliani’s tendency to defend Trump in rambling television interviews. Jost also described the president’s Twitter criticism of the media’s coverage of the controversy.
Co-host Michael Che lamented how long the impeachment process would take.
Kenan Thompson joined the segment as David “Big Papi” Ortiz, the Dominican former Boston Red Sox hitter who recently survived a possible assassination attempt. Ortiz joked about the food offered at Dominican hospitals, and used his screen time to advertise weaves and the Possible Burger — not to be confused with Burger King’s Impossible Whopper.
Up-and-coming singer Billy Eilish made her “SNL” debut with her performance of two songs from her new album “When We Fall Asleep and Where Do We Go?”. During her performance of “Bad Guy,” the 17-year-old hopped around the stage despite her sprained ankles and brace, which she revealed on Friday’s live episode of “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.” In her second stage for “I love you,” Eilish paired her silky vocals with an acoustic guitar.