Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump returns to SNL, bringing holiday hate with his "tree of shame"

Saturday Night Live (Screenshot: NBC)

On last night’s truly disappointing, Kevin Hart-hosted Saturday Night Live, the show kicked off with another White House cold open featuring the show’s “when he can get around to it” Donald Trump, Alec Baldwin. In the sketch, Trump, with Cecily Strong’s dutiful Melania by his side, welcomes a succession of his remaining administration enablers, each bearing a Christmas ornament decorated with the likeness of one of their fallen (to indictment, resignation, or termination) former cohorts. As ever, the sketch lets Baldwin’s Trump bellow his bellicose buffoonery to the cheap seats, as his Trump promises to abide by the season’s spirit of goodwill toward all, at least until, as he says, “Don Lemon says something mean about me and I tweet the actual N-word.”

Then it’s all a question of the cast (and surprise Ivanka Trump, Scarlett Johansson) doing their quick-hit Trump administration impressions. Aidy Bryant’s enthusiastically cutthroat Sarah Huckabee Sanders presents Trump with both Sean Spicer and Anthony Scaramucci ornaments, calling the long-gone communications directors “the mangled corpses I stepped over to get this job.” Beck Bennett’s Mike Pence—a little looped on a single ginger ale—practices his Trump-Russia alibis. Leslie Jones’ most recent White House casually, Omarosa, stands yelling outside the window, fighting off the Secret Service and demanding another chance. Alex Moffat’s Eric and Mikey Day’s Donald Jr. bring paper dolls of the likes of Sebastian Gorka, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon, and the like. And Kate McKinnon does a quick change, playing both her dazedly duplicitous Kellyanne Conway, and—in green screen—a tiny Elf on the Shelf Jeff Sessions, bemoaning the old days when people weren’t judged on the color of their skin. (They totally were, he admits, grinning his evil little opossum grin.)


With Baldwin’s part-time Trump continuing to tie these sketches to a broadly silly version of Donald Trump, Saturday Night Live’s satire of the person in the White House plays more just like a (slightly) exaggerated repetition of the week’s assholery. Still, at least they continue to infuriate Trump. So that’s something.

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Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.