Now, that was a cold open.
Ben Stiller, Martin Short, Jimmy Fallon, Scarlett Johansson, Alec Baldwin and Stormy Daniels herself all showed up for one of the more star-studded cold opens in the history of “Saturday Night Live,” just as the sketch show enters the final stretch of its 43rd season. And they were all there to do one thing: skewer the Trump administration after (yet another) week of shocking revelations through a series of comedic phone calls and crossed lines.
The sketch tackled an overwhelming amount of news in short fashion, straddling a fine line between being clever and convoluted.
It opens with a black screen with white lettering in a font that calls to mind “Law and Order.” It says: “The following is based on real events.”
Then the action begins.
Stiller, reprising his role as President Trump’s embattled attorney, Michael Cohen, shiftily sidles up to a phone booth and calls Trump, who is sitting in the Oval Office reading Par 4 magazine.
“How you are holding up in prison?” Baldwin’s Trump asks.
“I’m not in prison!” Stiller’s Cohen replies.
“Well, give it a couple of weeks,” SNL’s Trump shoots back.
The fake Cohen proceeds to sound the alarm bells, telling SNL’s Trump that authorities might know about their potential criminal misdeeds — only then assuring him that they’re on a secure line because he “dialed *86 before the number, so it’s completely untraceable.” (Before cellphones became popular, people could dial *86 before calling someone to block their numbers from appearing on caller ID.)
Cut to two FBI agents watching, eyes wide in disbelief.
The SNL Cohen’s main issue: “Mr. Trump, I don’t know what to do. You keep changing your story on the Stormy Daniels payment.”
The fake president suggests getting Rudy Giuliani — a recent addition to Trump’s legal team — on the phone because “he’s got the sharpest legal mind since ‘My Cousin Vinny.’ ” So the fake Cohen whips out a few burner phones (yes, he inexplicably keeps those) and begins making calls. But he doesn’t seem to be too handy with numbers.
First, he accidentally calls Dr. Harold Bornstein, Trump’s physician, who recently said two men working for Trump raided his office in February 2017 and took the president’s medical records just days after Bornstein had let slip during an interview with the New York Times that the president uses Propecia, a medication that stimulates hair growth. Afterward, Bornstein said in an interview that he felt “raped,” an outrageous phrase SNL was quick to jump on.
Short, a former SNL cast member, donned a wig and round-framed glasses to become the show’s version of Bornstein, who repeatedly shouts over the phone, “I guess you could say I was raped,” at the top of his lungs and offers Cohen drugs (to which the FBI agents roll their eyes in further disbelief).
Then, SNL’s Giuliani — played by cast member Kate McKinnon, who also regularly impersonates Hillary Clinton, Jeff Sessions, Kellyanne Conway and other political figures — picks up the phone right in the middle of a live television interview on Fox News.
Stiller’s Cohen begs everyone to stick to one story re: Daniels, but he’s cut off when SNL’s Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Aidy Bryant) beeps into the call for Trump.
“Did you lie to me about the Stormy Daniels affair?” the fake Sanders asks.
“Yeah, that seems like something I would do,” he responds.
Then a fake Melania Trump (Cecily Strong) beeps in for Cohen to ask whether a wife would have to testify against her husband were he accused of a crime. When she discovers the answer is no, she wonders: “But could she?”
SNL’s Cohen then gets confused about who is on which phone and accidentally calls several people in Trump’s orbit: First, Omarosa Manigault (Leslie Jones) who is still angry. Then Vice President Pence (Beck Bennett), who comes on to Cohen, thinking he was on the phone with a “party line, no questions asked.” Then Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner (Johansson and Fallon), who are mad that Giuliani called Kushner “disposable.” (Recently, in real life, Giuliani said Kushner was a “fine man,” but that “men are disposable.”)
Finally the sketch — which begins to feel fairly convoluted by this point — reaches its big payoff: SNL’s Trump suggests they call Daniels to settle everything once and for all.
So they do.
And the real Daniels, playing herself, answers the phone.
“So, what up, girl?” Trump says, before finally asking, “Just tell me, what do you need for this all to go away?”
“A resignation,” Daniels shoots back, eventually saying, “I know you don’t believe in climate change, but a storm’s a-coming, baby.”