Saturday Night Live (Screenshot: NBC)

Jessica Chastain’s first outing as host of Saturday Night Live went off without a hitch, as the Molly’s Game actress livened up sketch after sketch with aplomb. Still, even the unflappable Chastain isn’t immune to the maddening swamp of insane, truth-denying bullshit erupting daily from the Donald Trump White House, as depicted in the episode’s bracingly funny and pissed-off faux game show sketch, What Even Matters Anymore?

With three contestants (played by SNL all-stars Kate McKinnon, Kenan Thompson, and Cecily Strong) all chiming in to answer the titular question in response to Chastain’s emcee naming off various Trump scandals, the sketch seemed at first to be a one-note excuse for some good old, predictable Trump-bashing. But, as the sketch goes on, and Chastain’s host allows notes of bitterness, frustration, and eventually wild-eyed, crazy-laughing, booze-guzzling rage to creep into her practiced game show patter, things take a distinct turn toward the meta. Political comedy has—like a life of established presidential norms—been robbed of its taken-for-granted foundation of reason in the past year, with comedians (and shows like Saturday Night Live) struggling to find a way to satirize the alarmingly and escalatingly absurd. What Even Matters Anymore? at least sees the too-often wishy-washy SNL getting creatively, pointedly furious for a change.

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