Has President Trump tweeted yet about “Saturday Night Live?” You know, the one Saturday — as in “yesterday,” or “last night” or the “Feb. 4 edition with Kristen Stewart” that will go down as maybe the most memorable of the season? That one.
Has his press secretary, Sean Spicer? Or New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush?
Has the American Family Association? It must have a tweet about the word guest host Stewart uttered during her monologue — one of those seven words your (or George Carlin) can’t say on TV, but which does easily fit in a tweet slamming the guest host who said it.
Tweet, tweet, tweet: Has there been an “SNL” this season that more completely, viscerally, insistently summoned the social media impulses of so many people in so short a time — from the president on to General Mills, parent company of Totino’s Pizza Rolls (star of a mock ad)?
And, by the way, Melissa McCarthy — who is always brilliant on “SNL” — stole the whole thing, in a surprise turn as Spicer, portrayed as an apoplectic infantile control freak who used the White House press room lectern as a battering ram, and sought to prove Thrush (played by Bobby Moynihan) the most hated reporter in the press corps with a show of hands.
It was a wild “SNL,” and proof (positive) that the new administration in Washington is a gold mine of material which has reanimated the entire late-night TV landscape, from “Late Show” to “JKL,” to this particular classic. Nothing missed Saturday, or at least missed by much. That’s almost unheard of for “SNL.”
Alec Baldwin returned as Trump (his first outing since the inauguration), phoning the leaders of various countries, then slamming down the phone with “prepare to go to war,” while counselor Steve Bannon was portrayed as the grim reaper during the cold open. Stewart’s monologue then promptly upstaged all that.
Over the years, hosts usually arrive here to promote something, but last week’s Aziz Ansari and Stewart arrived to promote a point of view about a certain commander in chief. The reason Stewart was here was immediately obvious — a series of Trump tweets from 2012 in which he urged then-boyfriend Robert Pattinson to dump her.
Said she, “Four years ago, I was dating this guy named Rob — Robert (Pattinson) — and we broke up and then we got back together and for some reason it made Donald Trump go insane.”
Then later this: “The president is not a huge fan of me, but that is so OK, and Donald, if you didn’t like me then, you’re really probably not going to like me now, ‘cause I’m hosting SNL and I’m, like, so gay, dude.”
The un-beeped expletive arrived at the end of her monologue, when she said, “I totally care that I’m here ‘cause it’s the coolest (expletive) thing ...”
Since 2011, McCarthy — who, coincidentally, will star in a big Super Bowl ad for Kia — has hosted “SNL” four times. Those were energetic, memorable outings in part because McCarthy, along with all her other skills, is such a gifted physical comedian. Last night she turned the new press secretary into a homunculus with a comb-over and volcanic temper who inverted words, facts and, finally, reality. To make a certain point clear to the dimwitted reporters, he/she also performed a show-and-tell, also priceless and the sort of thing in itself that that could launch all sorts of tweets.
Her bit began with Spicer/McCarthy “apologizing on behalf of YOU to ME, for how you have treated me these last two weeks, and that apology is not accepted.”
The “reporters” in the press room then asked questions.
Spicer/McCarthy was impatient: “Let me wave something shiny in front of you monkeys ...”
Thrush/Moynihan pursued this line of questioning: “I want to ask about the travel ban ...”
Spicer/McCarthy: “It’s not a ban, the travel ban is not a ban.”
Thrush/Moynihan: “You just called it a ban.”
Spicer/McCarthy: “I’M USING YOUR WORDS ...”
Thrush/Moynihan: “The president tweeted, and I quote ...”
Spicer/Moynihan: “He’s quoting your words, when you wrote the words, and he wrote them back. It’s circular using of the word and that’s from you. Seriously, are you going to start with this right out of the gate.”
“SNL” and the rest of the late-night TV crew at times struggled to get its footing during the recent campaign, but with last night as evidence, footing has been established. The next four years are gonna be interesting, next week particularly so: Baldwin guest hosts.
Meanwhile, McCarthy has an open “SNL” invitation.