‘Saturday Night Live’ Shows a Milder Political Side

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In a week full of memorable political developments — President Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress; the announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he would recuse himself from any investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election; a doozy of a presidential tweetstorm on Saturday morning — topical satire was in short supply on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend. (That is unless you count the recurring cameo appearances by the cast member Kate McKinnon as the White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, kneeling in a familiar manner in various spots on the “S.N.L.” set.)

Instead of opening on Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of Mr. Trump or Melissa McCarthy’s caricature of the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer — both of which have proved irksome to the Trump administration — the show started with Ms. McKinnon as Mr. Sessions. In a parody of “Forrest Gump,” Ms. McKinnon’s sweet, simple-minded character sat on a familiar bench, recounting some recent difficulties and mangling the catchphrases from that Tom Hanks movie. (“I always say, life is like a box of chocolates,” went one. “There sure are a whole lot of brown ones in there.”)

As Mr. Sessions, Ms. McKinnon said that her week had “started out real good”: “The president made a great speech,” she said. “Folks were thrilled on account of it was real words in a row for a whole hour. We were all as happy as a monkey with a peanut machine.”

But things took a turn, she said, when “a senator from up north started asking me all these questions about Russia, and if I ever talked to them, and I got so nervous and confused.” She continued, “So I said no, I never talked to any Russians, ever, and that’s all I got to say about that.”

A few moments later she added, “I talked to the Russians.”

Other visitors who joined her at the bench included the bare-chested Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, played by Beck Bennett. (“This meeting never happened,” Putin instructs. “I wasn’t going to remember it anyway,” Sessions replies.)

The sketch concluded with an encounter between Sessions and this weekend’s “S.N.L.” host, Octavia Spencer, as Minny Jackson, her Oscar-winning role from “The Help,” who hands him a fresh-baked pie. And that’s all we’ve got to say about that.

~~~  READ/WATCH  ~~~

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