“What I Did for Love” is one of the most beautiful but heart-wrenching songs ever written for stage. It originally appeared in Marvin Hamlisch and Edward Kleban’s musical “A Chorus Line,” but it has been recorded by a slew of famous musicians from Bing Crosby to Johnny Mathis to Marcia Hines to the cast of “Hamilton.”
Sarah Palin, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, Michael Wolff, Stormy Daniels, Rex Tillerson and Omarosa Manigault, though, haven’t offered a rendition.
Okay, not that actual crew of people connected (in varying ways) to the White House. But SNL’s versions of them stood up in the fake Oval Office on Saturday and sang their hearts and lungs out — only, instead of singing about what they did for love, they remembered what they did for President Trump.
The star-studded sketch begins with Tina Fey dressed in a black leather motorcycle jacket and a pair of thin-rimmed glasses, resurrecting her popular impression of Palin, the 2008 vice-presidential hopeful whom Fey gleefully skewered on SNL.
“It’s me, the ghost of Sarah Palin,” Fey says. “I’m still alive. But you had to think about it, didn’t ya?”
The fake Palin then hints at her fall from grace: “Here’s a refresher. I was the first female on a Republican presidential ticket, and now I get paid to tweet for Bass Pro Shops. Take it from me: Politics is a wild ride. One minute you’re on top, and then you’re gone in the blink of a Scaramucci.”
Suddenly, she is belting out a few lyrics from “What I Did for Love” in a screeching voice but stops when Aidy Bryant’s Sanders walks into the room, confused that she’s still part of the Trump administration, having been the White House press secretary since July.
“All my friends are gone,” SNL’s Sanders says, referring to the tremendous number of White House staffers who have quit or been fired during the past year. “It’s like ‘Saved by the Bell: The New Class,’ and I’m Screech, and I’m just still there for some reason.”
So the fake Palin poses her a question: What if this were her last day at the White House?
Bryant’s Sanders doesn’t consider it for long before launching into a modified version of that classic song, in a booming monotone.
“Kiss White House goodbye, and point me toward Fox News,” she sings. “I did what he said to do, and I might regret what I did for Trump, what I fibbed for Trump.”
Wanting in on the action, Kate McKinnon’s Conway floats down from the ceiling to join in: “Goooooooooooooone, actually I am never goooooooooooooone.”
As she takes a breath, in waltzes Fred Armisen’s Wolff — the New York journalist who wrote the book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” a behind-the-scenes look at the Trump administration that has been criticized by some as partially nonfactual and poorly sourced — to inform everyone what he has been up to.
“I’m writing a book about Jared and Ivanka,” he says. “Did you know they’re actually the same person? That’s why you never see them together.”
“Is that true?” Fey’s Palin asks.
“Sure, whatever,” he says, before singing a couple of lines of his own: “I won’t say I lied. (All of a sudden we care about facts.) The truth was mine to borrow. (Oh, come on, you love it.) I did what I had to do.”
Next, Daniels, as portrayed by Cecily Strong, is carried into the room by two tuxedoed men to sing “They wish I was gone” and implore everyone to catch her on her “Star-Spangled Boner Tour.”
John Goodman’s Tillerson then strolls into the room in a fine suit and a big smile.
“Howdy, y’all,” he says. “Being fired by Trump was the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m the only man ever to go into a situation scathed and come out unscathed. Trump was the biggest mess I’ve ever dealt with, and I worked for Exxon Mobil!”
The fake Tillerson, joined by SNL’s Daniels, sings a few more lines, which Fey’s Palin caps with, “I would wooork for Truuuump.”
But then Leslie Jones’s Omarosa, who served as Trump’s director of communications at the White House Office of Public Liaison for about a year and reportedly had to be escorted off the premises, stopped by to say, “Trump thinks he fired me, but I fired myself.”
She then sings a line that includes some colorful language that isn’t fit to print in a family newspaper such as The Washington Post.
Everyone holds hands and closes it out together:
We did what we had to do
Won’t forget, can’t regret what I did for Trump
What I did for Truuuuuuuuump