Talented as Saturday Night Live’s cast is, they know when to farm a big role out to a pinch hitter. To wit: A minute into SNL’s 44th season debut, before host Adam Driver or musical guest Kanye West (sorry: Ye) even showed up, in walked Matt Damon, to deliver his best performance since the 1990s as Brett Kavanaugh.
After this week, there was no way the SNL cold opening wasn’t going to handle the Kavanaugh-Dr. Ford showdown from Thursday. It wasn’t quite as sterling as the classic one from the Anita Hill era. On the other hand: Holy crap Matt Dmaon as Brett Kavanaugh. After calmly slinking into his chair, Damon’s Kavanaugh launched right into the shouting.
“I’m gonna start at 11, then I’m gonna take it to 15 real quick!” Damon screamed. He then launched into a thankfully abbreviated version of the real Kavanaugh’s 45-minute opening speech. “I wrote it last night while screaming into an empty bag of Doritos.”
Throughout the sketch, Damon was reliably shouty and sweaty, boiling over with entitlement and permanent alcohol withdraw. He said the Dr. Ford business “makes me want to puke, and not from beer.” He cried over calendars, which was basically a documentary recreation. I repeatedly said “I like beer” as though it was a mantra. He said his hero was Clint Eastwood’s racist old-timer from Gran Torino.
Damon could have been the whole show, but they spread the love. Rachel Dratch filed another surprise cameo as Amy Klobaucher, the senator Kavanaugh infamously confronted by asking her if she got black-out drunk, too. When Damon’s Brett apologized, he added, “Sorry, I must have blacked out for a second.”
Meanwhile, the whole time Kate McKinnon sat there, made up as Lindsey Graham, waiting for her chance to blow up. And blow up she did, even if she wasn’t as volatile as Graham himself.
The whole shebang concluded with Damon staring into the lens sand spouting, “You think I’m angry now, just wait till I’m on the Supreme Court. Then you’re gonna pay.” Once again, truth is scarier than fiction.