“Saturday Night Live” returned this week with a cold open that, not surprisingly, tackled the Senate’s vote to acquit former president Donald Trump of inciting a deadly riot at the Capitol last month.

The sketch, a parody of Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” found a string of Republican lawmakers defending the acquittal — and the former president. Carlson (portrayed by Alex Moffat) looked on admiringly, occasionally weighing in with utter nonsense (“While you talk, I’m going to have a look on my face like a baby seeing its first balloon”).

Carlson’s first guest was a dancing Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), played by Kate McKinnon. Calling Trump’s second impeachment trial “offensive and absurd,” Graham suggested that rioters at the Capitol might have been there in support of one of the former president’s children. “Just because the rioters were yelling ‘Fight for Trump’ doesn’t mean they meant Donald Trump,” he said. “Could have been some real Tiffany heads, maybe even some Eric stans. I don’t know.”

On the heels of a discussion-stirring documentary about Britney Spears, McKinnon’s Graham declared: “The trial is over and now we can move past this and focus on the serious issues … locking up Hillary and freeing beautiful Britney Spears.”

“That’s a great point,” Carlson said. “It really makes me contort my face like I’m thinking.”

Graham went on with effusive praise for Trump. “He is smart. He is nice. He’s in shape,” McKinnon said with an exaggerated Southern drawl. “Last fall, he died of covid and didn’t even tell nobody.” The joke alluded to a recent New York Times report that the former president was sicker than acknowledged by the White House when he was treated for covid-19 last year.

Graham was joined by Aidy Bryant as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who appeared alongside a chyron reading “Trump said 'Wife Ugly,’ ” in reference to an insult Trump directed at Cruz’s wife during the 2016 presidential race. “I think she’s beautiful, but since Trump is the boss, sorry honey, ya busted!” Cruz said.

The show spoofed other figures from the impeachment trial including Bruce Castor (Mikey Day), the Trump attorney who mistakenly called himself a prosecutor in a rambling opening to the trial.

The sketch, SNL’s first political cold open since Trump left office last month, took a turn when Beck Bennett appeared as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Everyone knows you cannot impeach a former president,” he said. “That’s why we should have impeached him before, back when I said we couldn’t.”

“Well, that logic pretzels out, but what do you really think of Trump?” Carlson asked.

“I think he’s guilty as hell. And the worst person I ever met.” McConnell said, adding that he hoped “every county, city and state locks” Trump up. Then, taking a deep breath, he added: “Oh god, that felt good! I’ve been holding that inside my neck for four years!”

SNL continued to riff on recent headlines in a sketch that not-so-subtly referenced the plight of Tessica Brown, who said in a viral Tik Tok video that her hair had been stuck in the same slicked-down style for a month after she substituted her go-to hair spray with the adhesive spray Gorilla Glue.

Kenan Thompson and Regina King, who made her hosting debut on the episode, played partners of a law firm advertising their services to potential clients with similar woes. “If this has happened to you, you are not alone and this is not your fault,” King said, sporting a vertical ponytail that appeared to be coated in adhesive. “And you are not dumb,” Thompson added.

Brown has documented her attempts — including a visit to the emergency room — on social media and on TMZ, which filmed the procedure that eventually removed the Gorilla Glue from her hair.

“Every day as many as one people fall victim to using Gorilla Glue in place of a beauty product and they deserve compensation,” King said.

In addition to mining humor from recent headlines, this week’s episode also announced some news: The host and musical guest for next week’s episode, “Bridgerton’s” Regé-Jean Page and Latin trap phenom Bad Bunny.

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