Saturday Night Live took its share of heat from certain quarters (like The A.V. Club, for one) for inviting divisive presidential candidate (and now presumptive Republican Party nominee) Donald Trump to host the show earlier this season. And while the Trump-isode watered down most of the political satire of the Donald himself, the show’s been gradually letting some of the internal resentment escape since then. Last night’s so-so Drake-hosted episode was a virtual Trump piñata, even when it came to a usually innocuous recurring character.
Beck Bennett’s Dick Patterson, better known as the hard-assed boss with the body and mannerisms of an infant, saw himself being tapped by Taran Killam’s Trump-wary Paul Ryan as the GOP’s alternative option. Always an opportunity for Bennett to show off his amusingly precise baby physicality, here Patterson assured his interviewers that he’s “pro-life, pro-family, and pro-guns,” before freaking them out by brandishing his firearm with toddler-appropriate spastic glee. Trenchant political satire it’s not—Drake assures Ryan that even Patterson’s clutching baby fists are still “much bigger and stronger than Trump’s”—but, as the Trump train rolls on, the irresistible comic fodder the guy keeps tossing out there means SNL just can’t resist taking big, uncoordinated swings at the erstwhile host.