This week’s “Saturday Night Live” Cold Open centered on Thursday’s sixth Democratic presidential debate, which featured just seven candidates, the smallest debate stage thus far.
The PBS Newshour and ProPublica hosted debate was also the least diverse of the campaign season — entrepreneur Andrew Yang was the only person of color onstage — a point the “SNL” parody was quick to make.
“Just like ‘The Bachelor,’ the further we go, the less diverse it gets,” moderator Judy Woodruff (Heidi Gardner) said as she opened the event.
Kate McKinnon reprised her role as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Bowen Yang played candidate Yang and Colin Jost played South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
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The skit also featured several former “SNL” cast members, including Rachel Dratch as Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Jason Sudeikis as former Vice President Joe Biden. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, played by “SNL” alum Fred Armisen, replaced billionaire and activist Tom Steyer, who actually attended the debate.
Comedian Larry David Bird played Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
The show’s parody somewhat skimmed over a heated argument between Warren and Buttigieg over campaign fundraising using rich private donors, which proved to be one of the night’s highlights.
“Before we begin with the questions, does anyone want to prove that they’re presidential by having a petty little fight?” the skit’s moderator said, hinting at the tense moment.
McKinnon’s Warren immediately seized the moment to mention Buttigieg’s fundraiser in a California wine cave, an actual event at a real venue.
“I’m the only person on this stage that isn’t a millionaire or a billionaire,” Jost’s Buttigieg responded. “I live on a mayor’s salary plus a $20 a week allowance from my parents and that’s only if I do my chores.”
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., (Maya Rudolph) also appeared to “show you how good you could have had it America...you could have had a bad b----,” a reference to a lyric from musical guest Lizzo’s song “Truth Hurts.” Harris recently dropped out of the running, citing a lack of funds.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, (Cecily Strong) also took the debate stage to say “present.” Gabbard voted present during the House’s vote on the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump because she felt that she “could not in good conscience vote either yes or no."
In a twist, the moderator even invited Trump (Alec Baldwin), who had been waiting off-screen, to the stage, as if the debate were an episode of “The Jerry Springer Show.”
“Impeach me outside, impeach me outside,” Baldwin’s Trump said in imitation of “cash me outside girl” Danielle Bregoli, who was featured on “Dr. Phil.”
House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., (McKinnon, pulling double duty in this skit) got the last word though.
“I brought you two gifts Mr. President — they’re the articles of impeachment,” McKinnon’s Pelosi said.
Comedian and actor Eddie Murphy returned to perform on the “SNL” stage for the first time in 35 years.
After four seasons as a cast member, Murphy departed the show in December 1984, according to NBC News, only appearing briefly during the show’s 40th anniversary prime-time special in 2015.
As he stood on stage for his host’s monologue, the audience chanted his name in unison.
“This is the last episode of 2019, but if you’re black, this is the first episode since I left in 1984,” Murphy joked.
But the legendary comedian and actor said that after fathering 10 children —“11 if you count Kevin Hart” — he’s a very different man now.
“My kids are actually pretty much my whole life now,” Murphy said. “But if you would have told me 30 years ago that I would be this boring stay at home house dad and Bill Cosby would be in jail, even I would have took that bet.”
“Who is ‘America’s dad’ now?” Murphy said as he did an impression of Cosby. Cosby is serving a 3-to-10-year prison sentence for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004.
Murphy was then joined by some of comedy’s other black legends: “SNL” alums Tracy Morgan and Chris Rock, as well as Dave Chappelle.
“I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Rock said. “My kids love Lizzo.”
Chappelle expressed more earnest respect for Murphy. “I followed your blueprint for my entire career: I became the biggest star in television and then I quit,” Chappelle said.
Cast member Beck Bennett started to join the comedians, but Kenan Thompson quickly pushed him out the way so that he could stand next to his comedy elders instead.
Murphy also resurrected several of his old characters for his return, including Mr. Robinson (his version of Mr. Rogers), Buckwheat (inspired by the “Little Rascals” character), Gumby (a somewhat racist and rude showbiz veteran) and Velvet Jones (a seller of get-rich-schemes mainly targeting women).
Colin Jost and Michael Che continued the impeachment note the Cold Open ended with in this week’s “Weekend Update.”
Jost opened with the news that the House has impeached Trump, but Pelosi has refused to send the articles to the Senate until a fair trial is guaranteed.
“Now we’re all in this weird limbo where no one knows exactly what’s going on, there’s this cast of wild characters making fools of themselves and everyone is thinking, ‘Please, God, just let this end,” Jost said. “So basically it’s ‘Cats.’”
Che said that he was “a little disappointed” in Trump’s reaction to impeachment.
“I thought it’d be fun, like Tupac in ‘96,” Che said. “This is more sad like Britney (Spears) in ‘07.”
Racist, non-politically correct Gumby, one of Murphy’s old characters, interrupted the segment to shame "SNL" Executive Producer Lorne Micheals for not including him enough in the show and to criticize the “Weekend Update” hosts.
“I pass kidney stones with more personality than the two of you,” Gumby said of the hosts after saying their jokes “don’t have legs.”
Pete Davidson, the youngest person to join the “SNL” cast since Eddie Murphy, sat down to talk about his thoughts on Trump's impeachment. But Davidson soon admitted, “I just said that so you'd let me come out here. I have no idea what’s going on, I’m just trying to get through the ‘Irishmen.’”
Davidson and Jost then read tweets about each other.
Jost and Che do their traditional holiday joke swap, in which they give each other jokes to read.
Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro (Cecily Strong) also stopped by after drinking two bottles of wine to comment on how the channel is dismissing Trump’s impeachment in its coverage.
Lizzo performed her Grammy nominated 2017 hit “Truth Hurts” for her first set. It was her first time on the “SNL” stage as a musical guest.
The 31-year-old recently tweeted about her battle with the flu, but it seemed like she made a speedy recovery as she hit the high notes.
Her second performance had a decidedly Christmas theme. The singer and flutist sang her 2016 number “Good as Hell” in an outfit that was a silk pantsuit on one side, and a glittery bodysuit on the other.
Dancers dressed in bodysuits that made them look like they were wrapped in green ribbon swirled across the stage. Other dancers spun on candy cane poles balanced on gift boxes. The performance was set against a background that resembled a snowy mountain top.