With Houston Texans lineman J.J. Watt as host and country chart-topper Luke Combs as the night’s musical guest, “Saturday Night Live” leaned into Super Bowl weekend with a red state-tilted lineup. But for its cold open, “SNL” promised a form of wish fulfillment for those bored or frustrated by the impeachment trial with a segment titled, “The Trial You Wish Had Happened.”
While there’s a wide variety of scenarios that could fall under that banner for either side of the political aisle, for “SNL” that meant an impeachment presided over by Judge Mathis (Kenan Thompson) that featured actual witnesses, testimony from the president (Alec Baldwin) and, for some reason, Kyle Mooney offering a play on Joe Pesci from “My Cousin Vinny.”
The sketch cycled through a number of political figures from the impeachment saga. Beck Bennett again donned a prosthetic waddle as Mitch McConnell, who devilishly assured Thompson’s Judge Mathis that “all men are innocent after proven guilty,” and Kate McKinnon donned a peach suit for a Matlock-esque Lindsey Graham, who pledged to “tickle Trump’s grits” to ensure his own reelection. Both later offered a few key endorsements with McConnell shilling for coal and Graham delivering an ad for guns. “Guns,” McKinnon said. “You can’t watch the Super Bowl without a gun.”
The appearance was the first of the year for Baldwin’s Trump, who arrived shuffling behind a walker in a nod to the ongoing sexual assault trial of Harvey Weinstein. “Your honor, I’m a very sick old man, how could I hold aid from the Ukraine?” Trump asked the judge, who recognized the tactic. “Harvey and I overlap in a few areas,” Baldwin’s Trump admitted. He later donned a Phil Spector wig and confessed various sins, including his real weight and a fondness for CNN.
Author of the upcoming presidential tell-all and self-admitted “messy bitch” John Bolton (Cecily Strong) also turned up to testify, as did frequent Republican target Hunter Biden in the form of Pete Davidson on a hoverboard, who claimed innocence while dryly admitting to being on the board of a Brazilian money-laundering company called “Nepotismo.”
Alex Moffat’s wide-eyed Adam Schiff spurred an insult-spewing Baldwin into one of Trump’s “mini-strokes, “ and then Kyle Mooney’s leather-clad “My Cousin Vinny” arrived, which may have been a reference some 25 years past its prime, but “SNL” at least acknowledged the left-field nature of the Pesci-esque cameo with the introductory graphic “Why not, it’s fun!”
With the real-life impeachment trial expected to close next week, that may be debatable on a few fronts.