Saturday Night Live got off to a slow start this weekend, but Aidy Bryant’s performance as Sarah Huckabee Sanders singlehandedly saved the day. Cutting abruptly from a formal setting to an elaborately choreographed musical number is as a close to a surefire laugh as there is, but Bryant really sells this, singing and dancing her way through Demi Lovato’s “Confident” like Sean Spicer wants his old job back. What’s more, her impression of the press secretary—which started as just an accent and a joke about her mother being “a big southern hamburger”—is starting to capture the blithe obliviousness that is Sanders’ stock in trade.
And there’s no shortage of material: Since the last Saturday Night Live—let’s not speak of the David S. Pumpkins incident—Sanders has affirmed that the White House maintains that everyone accusing Donald Trump of sexual harassment is lying, called Robert E. Lee one of “our leaders” and referred to “Kennedy” and “JFK” as separate presidents while arguing that the Civil War could have been prevented, and burned five minutes of a press conference reading a Marine-Todd-class email forward aloud to the assembled reporters. As with so many things the Trump administration does, it’s all so absurd and terrible on its face that it seems like it’d barely need jokes.
But the sketch also shows an admirable commitment to going further for a laugh than status-quo Donald Trump sketches, which often do rely on the fact that Trump’s incompetence and stupidity should be funny enough on their own. (They’re not, at least not anymore.) Saturday Night Live’s best political work of late—“Through Donald Trump’s Eyes,” “Kellywise”—is the stuff that acknowledges up front that we’re living a nightmare, then uses the language and logic of bad dreams to respond. This sketch reminds us that every nightmare—even the one about the press secretary who blithely insults the entire country’s intelligence on a daily basis—is somebody else’s dream.