Between Alec Baldwin’s arrest on Friday for allegedly punching a man on a New York City street and the ongoing Pete Davidson/Ariana Grande saga, there was plenty of drama on the fringes of this week’s episode of Saturday Night Live. But with Baldwin’s Trump staying out of the cold open, and Davidson perhaps learning that jokes about his breakup had an expiration date, references to both dramas had to be snuck in—effectively!— in the opening moments of the show.
First came Baldwin, at the very end of the cold open in which Kate McKinnon reprised her role as Laura Ingraham to take on the midterm elections. Throwing “her show” to commercial, McKinnon-as-Ingraham asked viewers to stay tuned for “an update on disgraced actor Alec Baldwin, seen here molesting a young boy scout”—accompanied by a shot of Baldwin with Adam Sandler in the 1994 “Canteen Boy” sketch. It’s a funny dig at a longtime friend of the show, and also perfectly in character for a Fox News host.
Baldwin could have been an awkward absence in the opening monologue sketch, in which host Jonah Hill was welcomed to the five-timers host club, but the concept took care of it—Hill was welcomed by Tina Fey, Candice Bergen, and Drew Barrymore, a.k.a. three of the four female members of the club. (Scarlett Johansson, who hosted for the fifth time last year, was the only one missing. “The men aren’t allowed in now because it turns out they’re all a bunch of horny perverts,” Fey said by way of explanation, though the potshots at actual members of the club were pretty mild. (Justin Timberlake was called out for the Janet Jackson Super Bowl thing, Steve Martin for non-consensual banjo playing; surely to everyone’s relief, Louis C.K. only hosted four times.)
So where did Davidson fit in? Asking for another drink—provided by Kenan Thompson, who claimed “this is my show, I let you in sometimes”— Bergen requested “another Pete Davidson.” A Pete Davidson, since you asked: “All i know is it’s got a lot going on, but it still gets the job done.” For a joke cracked about an hour after Grande released a surprise single that referenced Davidson directly, it worked pretty well.
During a later appearance on Weekend Update, Davidson himself showed up for a surprisingly earnest address about the breakup—with an added message. “You’re probably wondering about the breakup but the truth is that it’s nobody’s business. She’s a wonderful, strong person and I genuinely wish her all the happiness in the world,” he said. “Now please go vote on Tuesday.”
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