The latest Sean Spicer parody on “Saturday Night Live” was an epic satire that referenced events from the 2016 campaign all the way back to the Book of Exodus — although it mostly focused on Tuesday’s train wreck of a White House news conference.
Anyway, we thought a reference-by-reference guide to the sketch might be handy, so here you go.
0:12 Spicer removes his bunny mask and hurls it off the screen: “Hey, kids. Happy Easter! Get out of here.”
True fact: Spicer once dressed up as the White House Easter Bunny for real.
That was many years ago, though, before Donald Trump became president and Spicer became the White House press secretary. Melissa McCarthy has been portraying an angry, shouty, prop-chucking Spicer on “SNL” since the second week of the Trump presidency — a parody of Spicer’s first news conference, at which he actually yelled at reporters about an inaccurate tweet.
President Trump, lately no fan of “Saturday Night Live,” was reportedly upset that “SNL” chose a woman to play his spokesman, which inspired the show to gender-swap Trump himself in a subsequent episode.
0:27 “Everybody shut up, so I can apologize.”
After repeatedly accusing reporters of botching the facts, Spicer publicly apologized last week after a news conference at which he made alarming misstatements about Hitler and the Holocaust. See below.
o: 40 “As we all know, President Trump recently bombed Syria …”
On April 6, Trump ordered 59 cruise missiles launched at an air base in Syria, in retaliation for a chemical weapon attack that killed civilians in that country’s civil war.
0:42 ” … while eating the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake America has ever laid eyes on.”
Trump used almost exactly the same words to recount how he ordered the missile strike while eating dessert with the president of China.
1:00 McCarthy-as-Spicer checks his notes. “What is this stupid name? I’ve got a ‘Bazooka Phylicia Ahmad Rashad.’”
Among many other mistakes at last week’s now-infamous news briefing, Spicer mispronounced the last name of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, calling him “Ashad.” Later that day, on CNN, Spicer bungled the dictator’s name again: “Bashad al-Asi—. A–, A –, Bashar al-Assad.”
Phylicia Ahmad Rashad is a mash-up of the actress Phylicia Rashad and her ex-husband, sportscaster Ahmad Rashad. A bazooka is just a bazooka, as best we can tell.
1:10 “At least Hitler never used chemical weapons.”
The reason Spicer went on CNN was to apologize for statements not much different from those in the “SNL” version.
“You had … someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to the using chemical weapons,” he said at Tuesday’s news conference, then clarified that Hitler “was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
The Washington Post memorialized the reaction in the room: “The mouth of one White House press aide seemed to fall open in a half gasp as he spoke. Reporters tried to correct Spicer, to remind him of the millions gassed in concentration camps, with one person shouting out: ‘He gassed the Jews!’ ”
And here’s the meme of a Washington Post reporter, whose reaction went viral during the press secretary’s briefing:
1:32 “I clearly meant to say ‘concentration clubs.’ Let it drop.”
After being reminded that Hitler gassed his own people in concentration camps, Spicer agreed: “He brought them into the Holocaust center, I understand that.”
To be clear, this was reality, not “SNL.”
1:53 “I am sensitive to the fact that they were sent there on trains, but, hey, at least they didn’t have to fly United.”
Spicer didn’t actually say anything like this. It’s a reference to how his misstatements about the Holocaust interrupted the global derision of United Airlines after a passenger who refused to give up his seat to a crew member was violently dragged off a plane.
2:06 Spicer expresses regret for making his comment on the same week as Passover, which he calls “Jewish Easter.”
The Trump team’s troubles with Jews go back to long before last week’s news conference.
During the campaign, Trump blamed an intern for retweeting an image of a Star of David on top of a pile of cash, said to have originated on an anti-Semitic website. As president, his administration reportedly removed all references to Jews from a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Saturday night’s show wasn’t the first time “SNL” has tackled the issue. “The guy who wrote it was super-Jewy,” McCarthy’s Spicer said in her original parody as the press secretary tried to defend the Jew-less Holocaust statement.
That said, Trump offered a bi-religious greeting for Passover and Easter this week.
2:26 “I thought I could shed some light to all the goys out there on this most sacred holiday, Passover. Now bring out my baby dolls.”
“SNL” often has Spicer use props to explain complicated issues to reporters — ever since the real Spicer held up an oversize printout of a tweet in January.
In this case, Spicer chooses to explain the Jewish holiday of Passover with hand puppets themed after “VeggieTales,” a children’s show that airs on a Christian network.
2:32 The Pharaoh is “a bad, bad hombre.”
The Egyptian pharaoh defies God to enslave Jews in the biblical story of Passover.
2:47 “He’s doing some really bad stuff to the Jews. I mean, not even Hitler is — not going to go there again.”
3:12 Demonstrating with hand puppets: “The Jews: These guys pass over, literally, these guys float above the pharaoh.”
This is not the correct story of Passover. In the Bible, God launches escalating attacks to pressure the pharaoh into freeing his Jewish slaves.
In God’s final plague, an angel of death kills the firstborn son of every Egyptian but passes over the homes of Jews and spares their children.
3:53 “Happy Easter, everybody. By the way, the president is probably going to bomb North Korea tonight,” Spicer says, taking no questions.
After Trump’s Syria airstrike, North Korea put on an elaborate military show on Saturday to celebrate its founder’s birthday. It also carried out an unsuccessful missile test that Vice President Pence called a “provocation.”
“SNL” is probably making fun of Spicer’s reputation for refusing to acknowledge certain questions — and sometimes refusing to admit certain reporters — at his briefings.
4:00 “Eat as much candy as you want because this is probably our last Easter on Earth.” [Swigs a jar of candy and drives a golf cart through his podium.]
This is a running gag. In McCarthy’s first Spicer sketch, he picks the lectern up at the end of the presser and slams it into a reporter.
One reader theorized that the candy Spicer inhales at the end of the sketch is Dippin’ Dots — a product with which the real Spicer used to feud. But it’s almost certainly gum, which “SNL” Spicer regularly consumes in gross quantities from his lectern.
This shtick, too, is based in reality. As The Washington Post’s Ben Terris reported before the election, Spicer’s mouth “works on overdrive, churning through pieces of Orbit cinnamon gum, which he chews and swallows whole.” Two and a half packs of the stuff, every morning. True story.
This post has been updated to note that Spicer once dressed up as the Easter Bunny in real life — and on “SNL” uses Christian-themed puppets to explain a Jewish holiday, confuses the president of Syria with an actress from “The Cosby Show,” and swallows an entire jar of gum. All of these omissions were first spotted by our commenters. If you spot more, please feel free to contact the reporter or type them below.