Beloved comedy sketch show (and, some would say, the voice of America’s conscience), Saturday Night Live, kicked off its 44th season this weekend with a 13-minute cold open spoofing Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Opting to sidestep lampooning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the action cut straight to an angry, emotional and paranoid Kavanaugh, played by Matt Damon in a surprise appearance. “I’m gonna start at an 11, I’m going to take it to a 15 real quick!” Damon’s Kavanaugh yells soon after taking a seat, before veering — much like the real nominee — between his love of beer, references to his “beautiful creepy calendars,” and blind rage at the “political con job” against him.
“I’m not backin’ down you sons of bitches — I don’t know the meaning of the word ‘Stop,’” he said, eliciting a gasp from the audience.
Toward the end of the close-to-the-bone sketch, McKinnon made her first appearance — stealing the show as a furious, grandstanding Senator Lindsey Graham, whose outburst at the hearing in real life gave SNL writers copious fodder for satirizing.
“You know what this is, Judge Kavanaugh? This is HELL!” McKinnon’s Graham screeches, angry at having been made to wait “to yell and shake my finger and get red as a tomato for 15 minutes.”
“And I know I’m supposed to shut up because I’m a single white male, 5’10”, uncut.”
“You put this man on the Supreme Court now,” McKinnon’s Graham continued. “No vote, no discussion. You give him a damn robe and you let him do whatever the hell he wants. Because this right now, this is my audition for Mr. Trump’s cabinet. And also for a regional production of The Crucible, and let me tell you, queen, I was good.”
LGBT news and entertainment website New Now Next points out that Chelsea Handler and Rosie O’Donnell each drew criticism earlier this year for apparently homophobic tweets about Graham, suggesting he is secretly gay, so it remains to be seen how aspects of McKinnon’s characterization are parsed. SNL in recent years has established a tradition of calling on female cast members or guest hosts to spoof men in the Trump administration — McKinnon hilariously portrayed Attorney General Jeff Sessions on last season’s edition of the show and guest host Melissa McCarthy skewered former White House press secretary Sean Spicer in a memorable 2017 gender-bending appearance.
McKinnon’s Graham went on to play a comparison between Kavanaugh and Bill Cosby for laughs.
Watch the opening sketch below, with McKinnon coming in as Graham just after the 10-minute mark.
McKinnon fans were also treated to her seasoned impersonation of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who last night turned up to comment on Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS nomination and hearing, and show us what her own calendars looks like, from 1982 (“Turn 100”, “Break glass ceiling”) and 2018: “DON’T DIE.”
“That’s it,” she says. “That’s all I got to do.”
Watch Kate McKinnon deliver some classic “Gins-burns” — including one aimed squarely at Senator Jeff Flake — below: