“Saturday Night Live” found a way to pay tribute to singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen in its cold opening and at the same time make a political statement following Donald Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.
The show opened with Kate McKinnon in her Clinton persona, complete with white pant suit, at a piano playing and singing one of Cohen’s signature songs, the elegiac “Hallelujah.” After her heartfelt solo performance, McKinnon turned to the camera and said: “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.”
McKinnon has shined throughout the presidential race with her performance as Democratic nominee Clinton. The show’s decision to open with McKinnon at the piano rather than a skit oriented toward the president-elect, spoke volumes, as did McKinnon’s statement.
Trump’s win on Tuesday put into stark relief the level of polarization across the nation, and it stunned many Americans after polls showed Clinton consistently ahead for most of the race.
Cohen, the legendary songwriter and poet, died Monday at the age of 82.
“SNL” faced sharp criticism this time last year when Trump hosted the show, before he secured the Republican nomination, amid an outcry from Latinos and others who decried his disparaging statements about Mexicans and extreme positions on immigration and Muslims in the U.S.