President Donald Trump’s antics have been compared to reality TV, so there’s no question where Saturday Night Live got its inspiration for this cold open.
Alec Baldwin reprised his iconic role as Trump, pitting a Grim Reaper Steve Bannon against Jimmy Fallon’s Jared Kushner in a reality TV-inspired elimination round. Only one can be Trump’s top adviser.
In the sketch, Baldwin-as-Trump and Beck Bennett’s Mike Pence discuss a number of current events: the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court; airstrikes against the Islamic state group, ISIS; the decision to drop the “mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan; North Korea; and infighting between Bannon and Kushner, who have been squabbling incessantly in recent days, according to reports.
Speaking about the bomb dropped on Afghanistan, Baldwin’s Trump calls it “the biggest, fattest bomb, we’ve ever seen; it’s so big and fat, it almost looks like me in my golf clothes.”
Baldwin-as-Trump summons both men to the Oval Office, Bannon entering to his trademark doom tuba theme music and outfitted in full Grim Reaper regalia. Trump’s “little Kush ball” strolls in to EMF’s “Unbelievable,” wearing the super-chill shades and name tag he wore for his Iraq visit.
A reality show elimination round begins, in the spirit of America’s Next Top Model.
“Jared, Steve — standing before me are my two top advisers, but I only have one photo in my hand,” Baldwin’s Trump explains. “That’s right. Tonight is elimination night. There’s been a lot of drama in the house and that’s okay, but one of you must go, now. But who gets to stay?”
Baldwin-as-Trump lays out the pros and cons both men present. Kushner, the president explains, takes “the most beautiful photos,” while Bannon takes “the worst photos I’ve ever seen in my life.” Kushner has quietly traveled the world as a Trump representative, while the president once caught Bannon “eating a live pig in the Roosevelt room.”
The winner, Baldwin’s Trump goes on to explain, gets to keep doing his job, along with “$100,000 courtesy of L’Oreal.” The loser will “join Kellyanne Conway” — who’s been notably absent in recent weeks — “in the basement.”
“But don’t worry,” Baldwin-as-Trump adds, “your journey does not end tonight because you will get to come back at the end of all of this and help send me to prison.”
Spoiler: It’s the more photogenic adviser, Kushner, who gets to stay on, while Bannon gets dragged “back to hell” on the president’s orders. Watch the full sketch here.