Under the Trump administration, a sunken place where weeks seem like years and the Constitution is but a rectal suppository, there is precious little cause for joy.
Thank goodness for Saturday Night Live and Melissa McCarthy.
The star’s bravura turn as embattled Press Secretary Sean Spicer is not only the best comedy performance on television, but has elevated the late-night sketch show to a 22-year ratings high. More importantly, it’s provided distraught Americans with a sporadic dose of catharsis; a respite from an administration sinking deeper and deeper into chaos.
And this week, with President Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey—this after the towering law-enforcement agent reportedly refused to pledge his loyalty to POTUS, and hoped to expand his counterintelligence investigation into Trump-Russia ties—we needed it more than ever.
The anticipated McCarthy-as-Spicer sketch began with Aidy Bryant’s spot-on impersonation of Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. But all the reporters in the room, of course, wonder where the heck Press Secretary Spicer is.
“I’m pretty sure I can see him hiding in those bushes,” offers up one of the reporters, pointing to McCarthy’s Spicer poking his head out between two hedges on the other side of a window.
Before you can say “Spicey,” he’s back in the press room, spraying down a reporter who had the stones to label him “bullish” with a fire extinguisher before assuming the position behind the lectern.
The first question went to The New York Times’ Glenn Thrush, played by the underutilized Bobby Moynihan, who asks Spicer about whether FBI Director Comey was fired for his desire to look deeper into Trump-Russia ties.
“Shut up, Glenn,” says Spicer. “You stink, Glenn! You stink. You stink bad. OK, let me just put this Russian thing to bed once and for all: Trump is innocent. How do we know? Because he told us so. Period. OK? Then he hired lawyers to agree with him. And they’re going to prove it with a certified letter, which you know is the truth because it costs an extra two dollars to have it certified.”
Spicer’s signature point-articulating Russian nesting dolls came out next.
But before the Q&A session ends, Spicer realizes that his job may be in jeopardy—a nod to reports this week that President Trump is eyeing Fox News’ Kimberly Guilfoyle to replace him—and so he heads to New York City to confront the president about it.
Cut to footage that was shot this week of McCarthy’s Spicer on his motorized podium, lumbering down Fifth Avenue.
“I need to find Trump! I promise I’ll talk better! I can’t go back to the Navy! I can’t swim!” he shrieks.
He stops by Trump Tower—home to First Lady Melania Trump—but POTUS is nowhere to be found. So Spicer finally tracks the President (played by Alec Baldwin, naturally) down at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he tearfully asks Trump if his job is in jeopardy.
“Mr. Trump, I need to talk to you. Have you ever told me to say things that aren’t true?” says Spicer.
“Only since you started working here,” Trump admits.
Spicer is anxious, and worried: “I don’t think I can do this anymore Mr. Trump,” he pleads. “They say you are going to replace me with Sarah.”
Baldwin’s Trump creepily pokes and prods Spicer before uttering, “Sean, kiss me… I’m famous, it’s OK.”
“No! Is this like The Godfather where you kiss me and no one ever sees me again?” asks Spicer.
“Yes,” he replies.
Trump then makes out with Spicer, and as he does, Spicer pulls back and screams: “I had a good run!”
Whether or not this is the end of Spicer’s tenure as press secretary—and thus McCarthy’s brilliant, Emmy-worthy run as Spicer on SNL—is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that in addition to providing us with hearty laughs, McCarthy’s turn as Spicer has managed to get under President Trump’s notoriously thin skin, with Politico reporting that “it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes,” according to sources close to him.
Oh well. He’ll always have Giuliani.