Entertainment

On ‘SNL,’ More Trump Potshots and a Putin Appearance, Too

In final unfunny show of year, Baldwin returns as president-elect amid kudos (of course) for Obama

No matter what happens in his film career, Alec Baldwin certainly has backup employment for the next four years. He can thank Donald Trump for that. Baldwin returned for the final “Saturday Night Live” episode of the year to reprise his Trump-maligned impression of the president-elect.

In the Christmas-themed episode, hosted by “Manchester by the Sea” actor Casey Affleck, the cold open took predictable potshots at Trump’s recent Cabinet appointments. Showing a mock conversation between Baldwin’s Trump and Kate McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway, Baldwin said he picked former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as head of the Department of Energy because “I saw him on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ This guy has so much energy.”

He then mentioned he only needed to pick the president now, to which McKinnon’s Conway told him he actually needed to “do” that. “Can’t I just do it three times a week like Howard Stern?” asked Baldwin.

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Poking fun at perceived troubles with Trump’s team picking inauguration singers — rumors based on those famous and always reliable “anonymous sources” — McKinnon’s Conway handed Baldwin a tiny sticky note with those chosen so far to perform. “America’s Got Talent” contestant and best-selling musician Jackie Evancho was recently announced to be performing at the inauguration, and the highly praised artist Andrea Bocelli is rumored to be singing as well. “I like both of them,” Baldwin-as-Trump said.

Related: Getting to Know Jackie Evancho

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While the satire program had no interest in poking fun at the Left’s recent Russia warmongering or their blind trust in the reports of “hacking” the presidential election, it did have an interest in making fun of Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At the end of the cold open, Putin dropped out of the chimney with his shirt off and a bag of gifts. He gave Trump an Elf on the Shelf to spy on him and then buddied up with Trump’s recent pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson — played by surprise guest John Goodman.

“It’s the Last Christmas While Barack’s Still Here” was a rap song segment that came later. Cast members got to give a big wet kiss to President Obama — who has only a handful of weeks left in the White House before Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. Without mentions of the fragile state of the world or Obama’s recent and entirely hypocritical words regarding Russia’s alleged “hacking” of our election, the song instead simply gave light nods to the massive failure of Obamacare and took shots at Trump.

The “Weekend Update” segment leaned just as Left as the rest of the show and as its recent history would suggest. It went into overdrive pushing the “Russia hacked our election and made Hillary Clinton a terrible candidate” narrative. “People are beginning to see red flags,” co-host Michael Che said regarding Trump’s presidency — as an image of Russian flags appeared in the background.

Related: Hollywood Ridiculousness: The Week in Review

Putin was the focus of the low-on-laughs show, with a few pats on the back for Obama peppered in. Che called Obama’s recent press conference a reminder of his “greatest hits.” “The climate deal, Obamacare, reduction in unemployment,” Che said, needing to stop there as the list of accomplishments — if they can be called that at all — is not very long.

A later segment showed Kate McKinnon performing as Hillary Clinton on an elector’s doorstep as she tries to convince the individual not to vote for Donald Trump on Dec. 19. The segment played less as comedy and more like an infomercial actually promoting electors to go against Americans’ election results and vote for someone other than Trump. It would have fit better with the recent video released by such desperate celebrities as Martin Sheen, who are imploring electors to disrupt the election.

“Saturday Night Live” solidified the show it will be when it returns in 2017. The problem with the satire is not that it targets Trump — satire is a wonderful exercise of freedom of speech and is important to keep power in check — but that the show is so effusively one-sided. Turning a blind eye to everything happening on the Left — desperate election recount efforts, uncharacteristic warmongering, the refusal to accept election results, and more — the show is more a tool of one political side than the sharp and pure satire program it was in days gone by.

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