SNL has been off the air since before the holidays, and so much has changed. For instance, when Matt Damon’s episode aired, there was a fully functioning national government. The partial shutdown has been going on for almost a month, with no end in sight. So what better way to lampoon the ongoing crisis than with a sketch about a dead game show?
Alec Baldwin’s Donald J. Trump swung by, popping up on a briefly resurrected version of not The Apprentice but Deal or No Deal. Kenan Thompson played Steve Harvey, sitting in for a sick Howie Mandell (probably because who even has a Howie Mandell impersonation?), and he was here to reach out to the president in the only way the president can understand: “With a TV game show with women holding briefcases.”
The briefcases were held by a motley crew, some expected (Kate McKinnon’s Nancy Pelosi), some less so (Ego Nwodim’s Cardi B, here because of the latter’s surprise anti-Trump video). Each tried to offer Trump some tantalizing deal, though almost all of them weren’t so hot for a president who in real life will only say no deal. Chuck Schumer’s offer was “whatever you want,” before he amended it to “$15 and a pastrami on rye.”
His biggest foe was Pelosi, depicted by the SNL writers room as someone who hates Trump so much that she delights at saying no, no matter what. “I’m not drunk on my own power or anything,” McKinnon’s Nancy said, suggesting that someone in charge thought there should be more both-sides-ism in a battle that began with one side saying you can blame him.
Of note is the soft return of Pete Davidson, who was only briefly seen on the Matt Damon episode, being that only hours before air he had sent out some disturbing messages on social media about his health. He played a Clemson Tigers footballer whose briefcase was just a case of White Castle burgers, which wound up getting Trump to fold. If only.