Saturday Night Live went all in on things that would be funny if they weren’t true this week starting with the cold open, which re-creates of just a few of our new president’s recent diplomatic bloopers and practical jokes. From his disaster of a phone call with Australia to his disaster of a phone call with Mexico to his disaster of a phone call with Germany (that one, like the Bowling Green massacre, hasn’t happened yet), the writing staff found themselves in a target-rich environment. For the most part, they delivered, though, as with most Trump jokes, it’s not clear whether to laugh or cry.
The skit gets pretty good mileage out of the idea (true, if the Muslim ban is any indication) that Bannon is running the White House, though probably not enough mileage to convince Trump to fire the guy. Assuming Bannon hangs on to his job, it will be a huge missed opportunity if Saturday Night Live keeps portraying him as the grim reaper. There’s so much more going on with Bannon than acting like Skeletor—the clothes! the anti-Semitism! the holy war!—that he really deserves a more detailed portrait. I mean, this is a guy who made a feature-length ode to Sarah Palin two years after she resigned:
He’s cartoonishly evil, yes—but he’s also just cartoonish. It would be great to see someone on the cast give him as much attention as Kate McKinnon has Kellyanne Conway. Despite underwriting Steve Bannon, however, this week’s cold open does give viewers the distinct pleasure of watching a fictional Robert Mugabe hand a fictional Donald Trump his ass. These days, that’s about the best we can hope for.