The parody news desk portion of SNL zeroed in on one big story in particular this week: Manafort's sentencing. The president's former campaign manager was given a lenient sentence of four years in prison, for crimes that warranted up to 24 years.
"Well, here's how bad Donald Trump's presidency is going," began Colin Jost. "His campaign manager was just sentenced to four years in prison. And for Trump that is good news."
Jost went on to quip that Manafort "looks like he was born divorced," then speculated that he would serve his time "in a minimum security white collar prison with a bunch of his friends."
"The guy stole over $50 million and basically got sent to college," he went on. "The judge who sentenced Manafort said that he gave him a lenient sentence because he lived quote: 'an otherwise blameless life.'"
"How can you say blameless life?" Jost asked. "He is being sentenced next week, And it's for a crime he committed while on house arrest for another crime?"
The camera then cut to Michael Che, though he stayed on the subject of Manafort.
"Paul Manafort got 47 months for tax evasion and bank fraud, which, as a black guy, feels very unfair," Che said. "But, as a rich black guy, it's a little encouraging!"
"I mean, if I can steal millions of dollars and the United States presidency in exchange for, like, three years of prison in my 70s, I can't promise I won't try," he added.
The segment was one of SNL's most politically charged moments this week, though the show was topical as usual. Alec Baldwin's impression of the president was missing from the cold open, as were the rest of the celebrity guests who play members of the administration.
Instead, several segments this week focused on the mounting case against R. Kelly. The cold open featured Leslie Jones playing Gayle King and Kenan Thompson playing Kelly in an exaggerated re-enactment of their interview earlier this week. Pete Davidson also rolled out onto Weekend Update to make jokes about the situation.0comments
The show also addressed the new allegation against Michael Jackson rising up in response to the documentary Leaving Neverland. The show's host, Idris Elba, was relatively absent from the night's most topical moments.
SNL airs every weekend at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.