One of the staging tricks “Saturday Night Live” often employs for its cold open — the part before the credits during which they yell “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” — is to have characters run onstage for a brief joke. For the past couple of years, those characters have generally been political figures, often those associated with the Trump administration. This week, though, the show turned its eye to President Trump’s supporters — some real and some imagined.

Alec Baldwin (who else?) returned as his version of Trump, who was staging a rally in Albuquerque, to an excited crowd of supporters, many of whom carried signs reading “Women for Trump.” (Quick props to the show for finding so many extras, all of whom remain engaged (and engaging) throughout the entire sketch.)

The sketch began with some easy jokes. Trump greets New Mexico, “by far my favorite Mexico.” He calls the city “Albacore,” “tuna capital of the United States.” He says he decided to hold the surprise rally because he heard they’re building a wall in Colorado “to keep the New Mexicans out.” He then shows a map of the United States (well sort of), divided into odd parts like “Good America,” “Lakes?” and “Bad Mexico.” “Chicago (Hell)” is listed on there, too. It reads like the track list of a set of bizarre Bon Iver B-sides.

Quickly, though, Baldwin’s Trump brings up supporters to tell his fans “what’s really happening in this country.”

It begins with a few normal folks, for lack of a better word. Cecily Strong portrays Christine from Las Cruces wearing a “KEEM AMARICA GREAB AGRAIN” T-shirt (she says she took the words verbatim from Trump tweets). She’s mostly worried about the “deep state lizard conspiracy” that everyone is in on, including “the CIA, the FBI, the MIC, the KEY, and the MOUSE.”

Then there’s Mikey Day’s leather vest-clad biker who is a member of Bikers for Trump. “If they try to get rid of you, then all us bikers, we’re gonna ride,” he says, before pointing out they’ll ride anyway. “It’s kinda the only thing we do.”

He’s followed by Aidy Bryant’s nameless supporter who recognizes Trump as “the one true white lord.” She has heard “if you read the title of Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ backwards, it spells ‘Gni Moc Eb,' which I looked up in a witch thesaurus, and it’s a synonym for another witch word ‘snart.' And if you spell ‘snart’ backwards, that spells ‘trans,’ so yes they’re coming for us!” She also carries a sidearm and wants everyone to know “the Earth is flat and Beyoncé is white!”

Things get interesting with the next supporter, portrayed by Pete Davidson, who has been absent most of this season. Here, he’s a member of the Islamic State who was “a prisoner in Syria until last week, when you freed me. So, I just wanted to say, ‘Thank you for bringing jobs back. To ISIS.’ And I promise that I will make ISIS great again!"

Things kick up quickly. Kate McKinnon’s Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) arrives next, though at first Trump thinks he’s “a scoop of ice cream melting into a suit,” and delivers a soliloquy from “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams. Alex Moffat then shows up as Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who robotically attempts to defend the company, announcing: “Facebook isn’t pro-Russian. It’s just not anti-Russia.”

The sketch ends with a few surprises. First is master impressionist Darrell Hammond bringing back his famous Bill Clinton. That might seem surprising, but it turns out he didn’t know it was a Trump rally. He just “followed the party.” Still, he’s jealous of Trump’s rallies. “Oh my Lord, I would never come home,” he said, imagining having his own.

Finally, Baldwin’s Trump brings up Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, portrayed by another former cast member, Fred Armisen. He asks that Trump “give this Turkey some gravy” and promises he’s “treating the Kurds really well.” Quickly, though, he starts asking Trump to show his tax returns just to show everyone how rich he is, and then suggests he could make former vice president Joe Biden “disappear.”

What made the sketch most surprising was the randomness of its characters. Why have a Bill Clinton? Probably because Hammond was available. But then again, we’ve repeatedly discussed the show’s difficulties in the Trump era. The sheer amount of news the show wants to tackle is overwhelming, especially after a week off. Perhaps this is the best way to tackle it.

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