Many correctly assumed that “Saturday Night Live” would dive straight back into politics with the cold open of its 44th season premiere, given the fiery nature of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week. But the casting decision nobody saw coming?
Matt Damon as Kavanaugh. Yes, that’s right. Matt Damon.
When Alex Moffat’s Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) asked if Kavanaugh was ready to begin the hearing, which centered on an allegation of sexual misconduct made against the judge by California professor Christine Blasey Ford, Damon’s Kavanaugh responded at full volume.
“Let me tell you this,” he said. “I’m going to start at an 11. I’m going to take it to about a 15 real quick. First of all, I showed this speech to almost no one — not my family, not my friends, not even P.J., Tobin or Squi. This is my speech.”
He then called the multiple allegations against him a “political con job, orchestrated by the Clintons and George Soros and Kathy Griffin and Mr. Ronan Sinatra,” referring to the theory that Frank Sinatra is Ronan Farrow’s actual father, before crying about his “beautiful, creepy calendars.”
A sketch about the hearing wouldn’t be complete without Grassley’s fellow committee members, of course.
So much beer.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), played by SNL cast member Alex Moffat, opens the skit with, “We’ve heard from the alleged victim, but now it’s time to hear from the hero, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.” In ambles a sniffing Damon, who sits down at a desk covered in small bottles of water and yells “What?!” (Last year Damon was widely criticized, and later apologized, for insensitive comments following the revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual assault.)
In Saturday’s skit, Aidy Bryant plays Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell. She declares it would be fine if people referred to her as just “prosecutor” instead of “female prosecutor”—a dig at her hiring by the all-male Republican membership of the Senate Judiciary Committee to avoid bad optics while questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Later, Mikey Day’s Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) refers to Mitchell as a “female assistant”—a dig at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s real-life moniker for Mitchell last week—then asks if she would prefer he called her “stewardess.”
SNL cast alum Rachel Dratch played Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), recreating a heated exchange during the actual Kavanaugh hearings in which the senator asked Kavanaugh if he had ever blacked out from drinking, to which he responded defensively with, “Have you?” (Kavanaugh later apologized to Klobuchar.)
The real Klobuchar endorsed Dratch’s performance:
At the end of the show, Kanye West, who had replaced Ariana Grande as the last-minute musical performer, gave a pro-Trump speech wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. He called President Donald Trump a “builder,” and said people backstage told him not to come out in the MAGA hat.
“It’s so many times that I talk to a white person about this and they say, ‘How could you support Trump? He’s racist.’ Well, if I was concerned about racism, I would have moved out of America a long time ago. We don’t just make our decisions off of racism,” West said. “If someone inspires me and I connect with them, I don’t have to believe in all their policies.”
On Sunday, the president tweeted his disapproval of SNL—except for Kanye.