There are certain guarantees in life. Death, the rising sun and Ben Stiller returning to play Michael Cohen in this week’s cold open of “Saturday Night Live” are among them.
The newest “S.N.L.” spoofed Wednesday’s widely watched congressional hearing in which President Trump’s former personal attorney testified under oath before the House Oversight and Reform Committee that Trump was a “racist” and a “con-man,” and detailed what he said was a pattern of criminal behavior. Cohen has already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress under oath, something Stiller himself poked fun at in character.
“Of course the first time I testified was under oath, but this time I, like really mean it,” Stiller said.
The sketch began with Kenan Thompson playing the role of Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the committee chairman, who quipped, “For any other president, this hearing would be the most damning and humiliating moment of their lives, but for Trump, it’s just Wednesday,” before handing the floor to Cohen.
Stiller, as Cohen, said in his opening statement that he had help in writing it “from the guys who wrote ‘Green Book.’”
“I know that I was wrong,” Stiller said. “And I know it, because I got caught.”
He concluded with this missive: “But now, I’m all out of faith. This is how I feel. I’m cold and I’m ashamed and lying naked on the floor. Illusion never changed into something real. I’m wide-awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn.”
If this bit went over your head — and we wouldn’t blame you — Stiller was reciting lyrics from the song “Torn,” a ’90s hit for the Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia.
The main target of the “S.N.L.” writing team was Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking Republican. The show brought in a pinch-hitter, one of its most famous alums, Bill Hader, to play a furious version of Jordan.
“You’re right that I’m angry,” Hader said. “I’m angry that I have to sit here through this two-bit dirtbag flea circus. I’m so angry I couldn’t even wear a jacket today. You know something, Mr. Cohen, I’ve never even heard of you!” Hader said.
“Your mother has,” Stiller responded.
The rest of the sketch featured Democrats ceding their time to Jordan, hoping he would make a fool of himself, as well as a lampoon of Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who at the testimony on Wednesday brought Lynne Patton, a black Department of Housing and Urban Development official and longtime Trump ally, to counter Cohen’s claim that Trump is a racist.
“S.N.L.” recreated the moment, with Alex Moffat portraying Meadows, and Ego Nwodim as Patton. With one problem, courtesy of Moffatt:
“Her name is Omarosa,” Moffat said, a reference to the former Trump aide, who is also black. Nwodim tried to correct him, but Moffat would have none of it.
Weekend Update Jokes of the Week
Colin Jost and Michael Che teed off on the Cohen testimony as well from the update desk, among other topics. At one point — perhaps illustrating the difficulty of mocking Trump — the hosts simply played clips of Trump giving his more than two-hour speech at the annual gathering of conservatives in Washington, CPAC.