‘SNL’ Slipped A Reference To Tyre Nichols Into Its Cold Open, Pleading For Merrick Garland To Serve Justice

SNL rarely shies away from the political; their Cold Opens are often about something D.C.-related. But on their most recent episode, they slipped in a reference to a tragedy the nation has only begun to process: the killing of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers. Footage of the murder was made public last week, prompting outrage and protests. It’s a serious subject, and SNL found a sly way to mention it without making light of it.

The episode’s cold open concerned Merrick Garland (Mikey Day), the attorney general who’s often been criticized for being too detached, too slow to take action. The sketch parodied this by making him a diminutive badass, a nerd bellowing threats.

“I may look like I was born in a library, but there’s something you should know: Merrick Garland don’t play,” Day’s Garland steamed.

The sketch found one FBI agent after another telling the press about their adventures visiting past presidents and vice presidents, searching their homes for classified documents they may have taken home, as has been the case with Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and current president but former veep Joe Biden. For instance, Bowen Yang’s agent regaled reporters with his hang with charming (and classified document-free) Barack Obama.

At the end, though, things got a little serious. One of the agents, played by Kenan Thompson, returned to ask Garland a question.

“Hey boss, when we done playing with your little papers, we gonna head down to Memphis and make sure justice is served down there too, right?” Thompson asked.

“I sincerely hope so,” Day’s Garland replied.

“Yeah, you damn right, just making sure,” Thompson said, to huge applause.

Perhaps the actual Garland will take notice and be inspired to do his job. You can watch the sketch in the video above.