Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Alec Baldwin, Jimmy Fallon, Paul Rudd, James Corden
Screenshot: Saturday Night Live

Look, nobody’s happy about Alec Baldwin still playing Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live. Not the critics, not Trump, and not even Baldwin. (Darrell Hammond probably has some thoughts, too.) Still, beware of the favor you do to Lorne Michaels goofing on a fringe reality show laughingstock that turns into a three years-and-running drag for everyone involved. Speaking of dragging, Baldwin’s been taking as much time off from the requisite Trump SNL cold opens this year, but slouched onstage on last night’s show once more, in a sketch predicated on the idea that the NATO lunchroom is a high school hotbed of world leaders chuckling meanly about what an ass the President of the United Staes just made of himself in front of the world. Yes, again.

And while the sketch positions the caught-on-mic sniggering of Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, and Boris Johnson as the jock-asshole bullying of a trio of high school meanies, at least Michaels called in a small handful of famous person favors to nudge the watery satire to some semblance of life kicking off the Jennifer Lopez-hosted episode. Paul Russ was a smug Macron, mocking Trumps’ recent tirade against low-flow toilets, Jimmy Fallon popped back into his old playground as Trudeau, pulling the old “you can’t get impeached if your hand is bigger than your face” gag on Baldwin’s sulky, excluded Trump, and Late Late Show host James Corden essayed a guffawing, windy-haired Boris Johnson, happy that—while he’s also a racist, politically bumbling idiot—at least he’s slightly less mockable at present than supposed pal Trump.


And, sure, the whole premise of the sketch seemed centered on making Donald Trump, of all people, a sympathetic figure, but Cecily Strong’s Melania did come out while the gang onstage paused in a mid-mockery freeze-frame to lecture the world on behalf of her bewilderingly tone-deaf (considering who she’s married to) Be Best anti-bullying campaign. And, again, sure, SNL keeps sidelining its own overstuffed and underused repertory company by bringing in applause-guaranteed guests like this, but at least Kate McKinnon got a chance to shine, as her lone diner Angela Merkel was called over to the cool table, if only to rub Trump’s nose in his latest humiliation.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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