There was no need for Alec Baldwin to pucker up and hit the spray tan salon this week because Saturday Night Live's cold open instead put the spotlight on a member of the coterie of convicted Trump associates: former attorney-slash-"fixer" Michael Cohen.
Ben Stiller has been on-hand to emulate Cohen's stereotypical New York cadence and suddenly sheepish demeanor in the past — whether it was discussing the Stormy Daniels hush money circus with "Mistah Trump" or getting grilled by Robert De Niro as Robert Mueller in the Meet the Parents reunion we didn't know we needed. This time, though, all attention was on him with no fauxTrump in sight, as was the case in real life last week when Cohen testified before the House Oversight Committee in a mea culpa-style open hearing meant to correct the record of his previous lies before the same body.
To begin, Kenan Thompson's version of Chairman Elijah Cummings notes, "Now, for any other President this hearing would be the most damning and humiliating moment of their lives, but for Trump it's just Wednesday."
From there, SNL's rendition of the hearing largely echoes the real thing — Cohen testifies that his former boss was a con artist, among other things, and presents hard evidence that Trump participated in the pay-off scheme with Stormy Daniels by signing a reimbursement check to Cohen while Trump was already in office. After concluding his opening statement with a few lines to Natalie Imbruglia's '97 hit "Torn," NotCummings then begins the inquisition part of the hearing.
"I'd now like to open the floor so Republicans can get angry at everybody except the President," he says.
Enter Bill Hader as Ohio representative Jim Jordan, who blusters his way through the whole thing by drilling home the fact that Cohen has lied for Trump — a fact which he is all too keen to admit to, again and again — as a string of fellow reps yield their time to him so he can keep accidentally proving their point.
As with many elements of the show's political punnery of late, there's no need to exaggerate anything for effect here — if anything, the segment only dials down the craziness of the day in the piece to make it more digestible.
Later in the show, "Weekend Update" also covered the Cohen testimony, with Colin Jost saying, "Cohen, who looks like he shaves in his car, accused the sitting President of fraud, tax evasion, racism, and Republicans fired back like, 'Yup, that's our guy.'"
Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30/10:30c on NBC.