Saturday Night Live could have enlisted this week’s host, Louis C.K., to play Bill O’Reilly in a sketch that came late in this week’s show about the Fox News host’s escalating sexual harassment scandal. But instead, Alec Baldwin returned for the second time, after playing Donald Trump in the show’s cold open, to portray not only O’Reilly but also Trump in a tour de force performance that truly brought home the pair’s mutual appreciation society.
“Hello, I'm Bill O'Reilly, and I hope you are having a terrific evening,” Baldwin’s O’Reilly said at the top of the sketch. “The subject of tonight's Talking Points Memo is a scandal everyone's talking about all week. A scandal no one thought I would have the guts to address head on.” But just when you thought he was about to address his own problems, he revealed his real subject: “The shocking allegations of the abuse of power that have been leveled against the Obama administration.”
At that point, O’Reilly tried to introduce Fox News reporter Laurie Dhue, one of the real-life women who received a settlement from the anchor, but was told she no longer works for the company. “Well, did she receive the check?” he asked his producer.
Speaking to another female analyst via satellite, because, as he explained, she had to stay 500 yards away from him, O’Reilly asked of Susan Rice, who denied claims that she had “unmasked” members of the Trump team, “When she said no, did her eyes say yes? Sometimes they do that.”
“As you know, 60 of our sponsors have pulled ads from the program,” O’Reilly said, before taking a commercial break. “No word as to why yet. We thank the following for sticking with us.” After that, fake ads played for dog cocaine, horse Cialis and, a bit cruelly, the movie Chips.
“Now this is hard for me to discuss, but I also have been in the news this week,” Baldwin’s O’Reilly said after the break, going further than the real Fox News host has in addressing the scandal on air. “Several women have come forward and accused me of offering them exciting opportunities here at Fox News. Beyond that, the details are fuzzy, but one man was brave enough to come to my defense. A man who is unimpeachable on all female issues.”
With that, Baldwin’s Trump, who did in fact defend O’Reilly during an interview earlier this week, appeared next to Baldwin’s O’Reilly in the split screen. “I actually see a lot of myself in you, Bill,” the president said, calling him a “big fan” of the host.
“I'm more familiar with this case than, say, health care, but I didn't really look into it much, no. I was busy being super presidential by bombing a bunch of shit.” When O’Reilly thanked him for promoting Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Trump said, “That's right, Bill. It's a subject near and dear to my hands.”
Through an impressive feat of TV magic and presumably a good amount of rehearsal, Baldwin achieved some of his best work yet on SNL in a sketch so spot-on it’s insane that they didn’t use it to open the show.