Donald Trump was skewered for his recent press conference in East Palestine, Ohio during the “Saturday Night Live” cold open. Framed as fake C-Span coverage, “SNL” featured player James Austin Johnson embodied the former president as he gave an address to local residents impacted by the recent trail derailment and toxic chemical spill in the area.
“I’ve been looking at your river, and it’s so shiny,” Johnson says, impersonating the politician. “I’ve never seen water more beautiful — beautiful rainbows and discoloration. It’s great. It’s wearing makeup, like Fenty beauty water.”
Johnson proceeds to shoutout Rihanna for her Feb. 12 halftime show at Super Bowl LVII, commenting on her pregnancy. Regaining focus, Johnson directs blame at the man he identifies as the one true culprit: “Who do we blame? We blame Pete Buttigieg,” Johnson asserts, alluding to a congressional committee’s ongoing investigation of Buttigieg’s response to the train derailment. “This was his responsibility. Unfortunately, he was too busy being a nerd and being gay.”
Chloe Fineman then emerges next to Johnson, portraying Georgia grand juror Emily Kohrs. The jury member has taken to social media in recent weeks detailing the proceedings of the investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
As the sketch continues, Trump (Johnson) probes Kohrs (Fineman) to reveal whether or not he will be indicted, to which she squeals unintelligibly in response.
The evening’s episode features Woody Harrelson as host, marking the actor’s entrance into the “SNL” Five-Timers Club — a distinction coined by 10-time host Tom Hanks in recognition of individuals who have hosted the show at least five times prior. Following the show’s cold open, Harrelson delivered a controversial opening monologue that seemingly took aim at the government and the media’s response to COVID and vaccine mandates.
Recording artist Jack White, best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the White Stripes will serve as the musical guest.
“Saturday Night Live” stars Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, Bowen Yang, Chloe Fineman, Punkie Johnson and Andrew Dismukes along with Weekend Update co-anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost. Other featured players include James Austin Johnson, Sarah Sherman, Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker.
Currently on its 48th season, the sketch show continues to be helmed by creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels with Liz Patrick serving as director. The series is produced by Broadway Video and SNL Studios and distributed by NBCUniversal Television and Streaming.
Viewers can tune in to “Saturday Night Live” Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. PT/11:30 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock, the network’s streaming service.