‘S.N.L.’ Spoofs Merrick Garland’s Hunt for Classified Documents
Classified documents are all the rage these days: They’re turning up in the homes of President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence, and on “Saturday Night Live,” which used these recent discoveries as grist for its opening sketch.
This weekend’s “S.N.L.” broadcast, hosted by Michael B. Jordan and featuring the musical guest Lil Baby, began with a dramatic voice-over intoning, “Criminals beware. There’s a new sheriff in town, and he means business.” This person had already put away the Jan. 6 insurrectionists and, the voice-over added, “Now he’s searching for classified documents and he’s coming for whoever has them — Democrat, Republican or whatever Trump is now.”
That person turned out to be Attorney General Merrick Garland, played by Mikey Day in an especially nebbishy manner. “I may look like I was born in a library,” Day said as Garland, “but there’s something you should know: Merrick Garland don’t play.” Though his voice was hardly intimidating, his bold assertions were often punctuated with head shakes and whip-crack sound effects.
Day noted that “some have said the federal government classifies too many documents.” He added, “This has led people to ask, ‘Does recovering these documents even matter?’ To which I say: I don’t know. But it’s the law. And I am the law.” A pair of pixelated sunglasses then descended upon his face, accompanied by a caption that read “Deal With It.”
He introduced three special agents that he had dispatched to the residences of elected officials, starting with Kenan Thompson playing an agent who said he had conducted a search of Pence’s home.
“I knew right away this man needed a friend,” Thompson recounted. “When he opened the door, he said, ‘You came!’ with a big smile, and he offered to make us pancakes.”
His search turned up no documents, but, Thompson said, “In an envelope marked ‘tax stuff,’ we discovered photographs of the country pop-singer Shania Twain, cut out from several magazines. When confronted with this, Mr. Pence said, ‘I’m sorry; I’m disgusting.’ ”
Ego Nwodim played an agent who had searched the home of Vice President Kamala Harris. “Come on now — Joe Biden won’t even give this woman a pen,” Nwodim said. “You think she has classified documents?”
Finally, Bowen Yang appeared as an agent who was still star-struck by a recent visit to the home of former President Barack Obama. “No big deal, but it was really fun,” Yang said, adding that Obama had possessed “175 letters from Lin-Manuel Miranda begging the president to attend a performance of ‘Hamilton.’ ”
Day shared a final message for anyone still potentially holding onto classified documents: “Do you think this is a game?” he said. “Who do you think you’re playing with?”
Thompson said to him, “Hey boss, when we done playing with these little papers, we gonna head down to Memphis and make sure justice is served down there, too, right?”
“I sincerely hope so,” Day replied.
Commercial Parody No. 1 of the Week
A pair of pretaped commercial parodies really rescued this week’s broadcast, beginning with this segment poking fun at the recent difficulties faced by Southwest Airlines. The carrier canceled thousands of flights around the holiday season, costing the company more than $1 billion.
As the airline’s employees (played by Jordan, Heidi Gardner, Devon Walker and others) explain, Southwest has since taken steps to provide customers with a better, more modern experience: The company has upgraded its entire communications system — to 2008 Dell computers, replacing their old 2002 IBM ThinkPad laptops. And the airline has ditched its old pen-and-paper method of air-traffic control in favor of computers: that’s right, 2002 IBM ThinkPad laptops.
Commercial Parody No. 2 of the Week
This weekend’s second noteworthy commercial parody is also an effective little suspense thriller.
It begins innocuously by lampooning a line of State Farm insurance ads, with Day and Gardner playing a married couple seeking the consultation of the company’s red-shirted spokesman, Jake From State Farm (Jordan). But as the story progresses, Jordan — who never fully exits the family’s house — begins to displace Day in all of his household roles, taking his wife and children out for pizza and to church and even supplanting Day in his marital bed.
Day’s efforts to change insurance providers don’t go so well either: You’ll never hear anyone make a basic sales pitch sound as sinister as Jordan does when he says, “Even if you do find cheaper coverage, we’ll just match it.”
Weekend Update Jokes of the Week
Over at the Weekend Update desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che continued to riff on the discovery of classified documents in the homes of Trump, Biden and Pence. Other jokes targeted Facebook’s decision to reinstate Trump’s account and a Senate hearing investigating the concert promoter Live Nation.