As expected, Saturday Night Live pulled no punches this weekend while joking about President Donald Trump's impeachment acquittal. In a "Weekend Update" segment, writer and co-host Michael Che even went so far as to compare the impeachment to the acquittal of O.J. Simpson in 1995. Fans laughed uproariously at the controversial comparison.
Che and Colin Jost launched right into jokes about the impeachment hearing on Saturday night, starting with a joke from Jost about the viral photo of Trump's contrasting skin tone. After Jost got in a few punchlines, he handed it off to Che, who set up the O.J. Simpson joke.
"The day after the senate vote, President Trump gave a speech at the White House which he called a celebration," Jost said evenly. "Let's take a look."
The screen then cut away to close-up footage of Simpson hearing his own not-guilty verdict in 1995. To this day, many still believe Simpson was guilty of the two murders he had been charged with, and his acquittal remains a pop cultural touchstone for the ages.
The live audience at SNL let out a wave of sharp laughter when Simpson appeared on screen, but it quickly dissolved into groans at the hot-button joke. Che even seemed to wear a bemused smile when the camera returned to him, but he chuckled as he transitioned into the real clip of President Trump's speech.
"Oh, that's the wrong clip. Here's the actual one," he said.
The U.S. House of Representatives impeached Trump on Dec. 18, 2019, passing articles of impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The articles went to the Senate, where the impeachment trial began on Jan. 16, 2020.0comments
Unlike the House, the Senate has a Republican majority, and was therefore seen as a greater obstacle to impeachment. After 20 days, the Senate voted against calling any witnesses for the trial — making it the first impeachment in U.S. history to conclude without witness testimony.
Under the U.S. Constitution, at least two-thirds of the Senate must vote to convict an impeached president in order for them to be removed from office. That would have required a considerable number of Republicans to vote against their own party lines to convict Trump. Only Senator Mitt Romney did so, making him the first senator in U.S. history to vote for a conviction against his own party in an impeachment hearing.