If you tuned in to last night’s Saturday Night Live and felt a little confused, then sad, then grateful, you probably weren’t alone. Seeing the “Church Chat” logo might’ve made you assume that the scheduled Brie Larson-hosted episode had been preempted for a repeat. Or that you’d had a stroke. Or that you’d been transported back to 1987 in some sort of wacky, body-switch time-travel plot. Hearing the late Phil Hartman’s voice introducing Dana Carvey’s endlessly judgmental Church Lady—that’d bum anyone out. But, when Carvey—still filling out that matronly purple ensemble and iron gray wig with prim superiority—started making peerlessly passive-aggressive jabs at the recent Met Ball and the ripe-for-judging 2016 presidential election, all of that was swept away in a welcome wave of recognition.
Sure, the Church Lady’s popped up here and there over the years (last when Carvey hosted in 2011) but perhaps the twin specters of Republican candidates Ted Cruz (Taran Killam) and Donald Trump (Darrell Hammond) were simply too enticing for Carvey’s holier-than-thou Church Lady to ignore. (He also has a new TV show to promote.) Taunting Cruz for being too showily preachy even for her and throwing deadpan shade at Trump, it’s the same old Church Lady we all knew and loved. Even when Cruz, unleashing an unsettling evil laugh, returns to the stage having transformed himself into an actual, horn-sporting demon, the Church Lady remains characteristically unruffled. After all, it’s not like she’s facing down… Satan!