Adam Driver was the host of last night’s (so-so) Saturday Night Live premiere, but a new celebrity ringer stole the show right off the bat. Kicking off with a cold open about the contentious Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the episode saw cast members busting out their Chuck Grassley, Corey Booker, and Dianne Feinstein impressions (with Kate McKinnon in some majestic jowls as a blustering Lindsey Graham, continuing her quest to impersonate every member of the Trump administration). But, after the big build-up, it was time to unveil the season’s Kavanaugh (murmurs of “Don’t be Baldwin, don’t be Baldwin” ringing through the nation), and Matt Damon stomped in and sat down, embodying the candidate and accused sex creep with true frat bro commitment.
As is traditional with SNL, the extended opener played more on mannerism and a checklist of “every goddamn thing Trump touches is a soul-sucking farce” actual events than on sophisticated satire. But Damon was outstanding, exaggerating (barely) Kavanaugh’s huffing tirades and obvious contempt for those Democratic senators who dare to question him about his fitness for a lifetime seat on the most powerful court in the land just because he might have sexually assaulted numerous women. With Alec Baldwin’s Trump nowhere in sight (although he will be back), and Kavanaugh’s shelf life as a viable comic target (pending that pesky ongoing FBI investigation into alleged sexual creepiness) in question, it’s not clear how much Matt Damon we’ll be getting as the season goes on. But Damon made the most of his turn in the famous guest impressionist chair, name-checking his high school drinking buddies, sneering at questions about youthful binge drinking (“You mean, was I cool? Yeah.”), and, rather unfortunately for him, blurting “I don’t know the meaning of the word stop!”