Living through the Trump era is like being stuck in an endless loop, especially if you’re keeping up with political talk shows. This month, it’s hard not to hear all the reporting on Donald Trump allegedly pressuring the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Joe Biden’s son, his administration trying to hide evidence that it happened, Trump basically saying it happened anyway, then House Democrats grudgingly opening an impeachment inquiry, and not come away thinking Haven’t we kinda done all this before?
Enter SNL‘s “Inside the Beltway” political take show, on the premiere episode of the show’s 44th season. Aidy Bryant plays the show host while Cecily Strong and guest host Woody Harrelson are reporters and Kenan Thompson plays a professor (all characters are from Texas for some reason). Bryant, Strong, and Harrelson are all in agreement that this is the thing that will bring Trump down, but only Thompson seems to have anything resembling a functioning memory.
“This feels like a real turning point in the Trump presidency,” Harrelson says.
Strong agrees: “You know, it’s gratifying to see our system of checks and balances finally working the way it’s intended.”
“Ain’t nothin’ gonna happen,” Thompson says.
His fellow panelists keep trying to convince him that the Ukraine scandal is different from every other scandal, and Thompson repeatedly pops their completely unfounded optimism that democratic institutions will bring a swift end to Trump’s tenure. “Keep in mind that impeachment gives Congress more powers than they previously had, I mean, Adam Schiff says, and I quote, ‘The big club has been brought out,'” Strong says with a satisfied smile.
“Oh snap! Adam ‘the Hammer’ Schiff! Said that!? Well that’s all you had to say,” Thompson replies, before pulling out an actual carton of popcorn.
The sketch is strong on its own, but a mis-timed wardrobe change almost torpedoes the whole thing. Bryant, SNL veteran that she is, barely manages to keep it together long enough for Thompson to get out the sketch’s kicker.