The setting was a mock town hall in Iowa, which hosted a fall fundraising dinner for the Democratic candidates on Friday and where Warren has recently emerged as the candidate to beat.
With sleeves rolled up and brimming with energy, McKinnon’s Warren started by introducing herself — “Look at me, I’m in my natural habitat: a public school on a weekend” — then offered to “pour one out” for former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, who left the race Friday.
“Thank you so much for running a great campaign and sticking around long enough to call me ‘punitive,’” she said, referencing O’Rourke’s criticism of Warren’s tax policy in the October primary debate.
She also jabbed at President Trump’s recent decision to move his permanent residence from Manhattan to Palm Beach, Fla.
Then she opened it up for questions from the mock town hall audience, which was stacked with SNL cast members and extras.
The first came from a faux campaign worker for Democratic rival Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), who asked why it took so long for Warren to release her Medicare-for-all plan. (The real Warren unveiled the details of her plan in a 40-page document on Friday after facing mounting questions over how she would fund it.)
McKinnon’s Warren thanked the campaign worker for raising the issue, saying health care was her “Despacito.”
“When Bernie was talking Medicare-for-all, everybody was like, ‘oh, cool,’ and then they turned to me and were like, ‘fix it, mom!’” she said, referencing Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “And I’ll do it because that’s what moms do. With dad you eat birthday cake for breakfast and then go to Six Flags, and then I hold your hand and let you throw up in my purse.”
Another fake attendee asked how her plan compared to former vice president Joe Biden’s plan.
“My plan compares favorably in that it exists,” she quipped. “No one asks how we’re going to pay for ‘remember Obama.’”
She then fielded questions about how she would pay for the health care overhaul, which, in real life, has been projected to cost between $20.5 trillion and $34 trillion over a decade.
The fake Warren offered a trio of solutions: Cut military spending, tax Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, and tax banks. “All we’ve got to do is to convince JP Morgan to operate like a nonprofit,” she said. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
At one point, she whipped out a poster featuring a dizzying collage of charts, graphs and numbers, ostensibly illustrating the cost breakdown. “Do you understand this? I do! I could explain it to you, but you’d die,” she said.
Finally, the mock candidate took a question from an attendee who said she was nervous about giving up her private health care plan.
McKinnon’s Warren told her that her insurance was like a bad boyfriend. “Girl, listen to me, you need to leave him,” she said as the woman broke down in tears. “You deserve better.”
After consoling her, she asked if she had her vote.
“I don’t know,” she replied, perking up, “Pete Buttigieg seems nice.”
“Aw, go to hell,” the fake Warren said. Then she launched into the show.