The final Saturday Night Live episode of 2019 opened with another blistering political sketch. Although it came just days after the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump on two articles related to a July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the skit parodied the 2020 Democratic Presidential debate. The star-studded sketch featured cameos from Fred Armisen, Rachel Dratch, Larry David, Maya Rudolph and Jason Sudeikis.
In a surprise twist, Alec Baldwin showed up as Trump to crash the debate, Jerry Springer-style. Kate McKinnon even played two people in the sketch, reprising her roles as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Sudeikis' appearance was a complete surprise, as Woody Harrelson took over the role of former Vice President Joe Biden after hosting an episode earlier this fall. Sudeikis even made a joke about looking different than Harrelson, noting that Biden had a "glow-up."
The sketch also featured Rudolph as California Senator Kamala Harris, even though Harris has dropped out of the race in real life. Armisen reprised his role as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who did not qualify for the real PBS debate the sketch parodied.
"For $30 million, PBS is now owned by viewers like me," Bloomberg (Armisen) said. "Look, I even got a tote bag."
Cecily Strong also popped in as Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who was also not at the debate. When Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (Dratch) was shocked by Gabbard's appearance, she replied, "Present!" This was a reference to Gabbard's non-vote in the House's impeachment vote on Wednesday.
This week's cold open followed last week's "American Households," the first cold open without any guest stars. Instead, it featured the regular cast members playing regular Americans from different parts of the political spectrum. One group featured Kenan Thompson, Ego Nwodim and Chris Redd, who tried to focus on other topics as they were totally prepared for Trump to win a second term.
"They'll debate the issues all year long, but then it all comes down to 1,000 people in Wisconsin who won't even think about the election until the morning of," Aidy Bryant, who played a snowman hosting the sketch, said. "And that's the magic of the electoral college."
In the end, McKinnon made an out-of-left-field appearance as Greta Thunberg, who took a chance to warn everyone about climate change.
This week's SNL was not just the last episode of 2019 and the decade. It was also the first time Eddie Murphy hosted the show since 1984. The legendary comedian became a star in the early 1980s thanks to his four years on the show, and he is in the midst of a career comeback. His performance in Netflix's Dolemite Is My Name put him in the Oscar race and he is planning a stand-up tour. Murphy is also working on the sequels Coming 2 America and Beverly Hills Cop 4.
With that in mind, Murphy told IndieWire it was the perfect time to come back.
"When I went back to SNL to do the 40th anniversary, I hadn't been back there in years," Murphy explained. "I went in there and saw the studio, went to my old dressing room and most of the actors and actresses that were in the cast, over the 40 years, were there, and all the department people… I just was overcome with this huge feeling of nostalgia. I felt a kinship to everybody. It was like, 'I want to come back and host again.' But I wanted to host again when I had a hot movie. Dolemite is funny, and that seemed like the perfect time to go back there and then go do stand-up again as well."
SNL Season 45 will be back in 2020.
Photo credit: NBC