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With the partial government shutdown continuing to stretch on, “Saturday Night Live” proposed its own solution to the standoff: a game show parody.

The first new “S.N.L.” of 2019 opened with a special “government shutdown edition” of “Deal or No Deal,” whose only contestant was President Trump — played by Alec Baldwin in his recurring role — looking for a compromise that would end the impasse.

As the host Steve Harvey (played by Kenan Thompson) explained to Baldwin, “Earlier today you went on TV and you told the American people that you wanted to make a deal.” He added, “So we decided to do this in the only format that you can understand: a TV game show with women holding briefcases.”

After rejecting the immigration deal that Congress offered in December, Baldwin made a counterproposal: “I want $5 billion for my border wall,” he said, “and in exchange I’ll extend DACA, and I’ll release the kids from cages so they can be free-range kids.”

Baldwin considered other offers contained in briefcases held by various members of Congress. He started with Nancy Pelosi (Kate McKinnon), whose briefcase contained a note that read, “$1 billion + you say ‘Nancy’s my mommy.’”

As Baldwin and McKinnon bickered further, Thompson said, “This is like watching two grandparents fight over the thermostat.”

Baldwin next turned to Chuck Schumer (Alex Moffat), who opened a briefcase that said, “Whatever you want.”

McKinnon reminded him: “Chuck, we’re not doing that anymore. Remember, we’re projecting strength?” she said. Moffat turned over another card that read, “$15 + Pastrami on Rye.”

Baldwin further approached Mitch McConnell (Beck Bennett), Maxine Waters (Leslie Jones) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Melissa Villaseñor), who quipped, “Trump and the G.O.P are just terrified of me because I’m under 100 and I know how to use Instagram.”

Finally, Baldwin turned to a Clemson football player (Pete Davidson) who wasn’t holding a briefcase but instead carried a White Castle box with a note inside that read, “Hamberders.”

Baldwin settled his dispute for a hamburger, and Thompson observed, “Well, I guess that makes as much sense as anything else that’s going on these days.”

In other memorable moments from the show:

Return of Pete Davidson of the Week

Hours before the last “S.N.L.” episode of 2018, Pete Davidson published a troubling Instagram message in which he wrote, in part, “I don’t really want to be on this earth anymore. I’m doing my best to stay here for you but I actually don’t know how much longer I can last.” (The New York Police Department subsequently sent an officer to NBC to check on Davidson, who has talked about being given a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.)

This week, Davidson appeared in several sketches as well as this “Weekend Update” deskside segment where, at first, it appeared he was going to address last month’s worrisome events. “As you know,” Davidson said, “I’ve had a really crazy month, and I want to talk about something that really matters to me.”

Colin Jost asked, “Mental health?”

Davidson answered, “No, the new Clint Eastwood movie ‘The Mule.’”

Davidson then brought out John Mulaney, the comedian and “S.N.L.” alumnus, and the two of them then really did make a lot of jokes about “The Mule.”

But at one point in the bit, Mulaney said, “I’ve been spending time with Pete, to try to show him that you can have a life in comedy that is not insane; a sober domestic life.”

Davidson replied, “Yeah, and after observing John’s life, I publicly threatened suicide.”

After a few laughs, Mulaney turned to Davidson and said, “You are loved by many. And we are glad you are O.K.”

“Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Parody of the Week

You can’t have an “S.N.L.” episode hosted by Rachel Brosnahan without poking a little fun at her hit Amazon series, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” In this take on the show, Leslie Jones plays Rita Mae Johnson, a floor-sweeper at the Gaslight Café who, with a little encouragement from Mrs. Maisel, becomes an exceptionally foul-mouthed stand-up comic named “The Raunchiest Miss Rita.”

We can’t reproduce any of her jokes here, but we will endorse this sketch’s impersonations of the “Mrs. Maisel” co-stars Alex Borstein (Aidy Bryant) and Tony Shalhoub (Kyle Mooney).

Weekend Update Jokes of the Week

At the “Weekend Update” desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che continued to riff on the shutdown and a BuzzFeed News report that was disputed by the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.


President Trump, the man who said he would own the shutdown, clearly does not care about the people who are working unpaid, who can’t afford basic things like food. But why would he care? He’s a billionaire who controls all the hamburgers in the world. Then after Scrooge McDonald’s was done hosting his burger orgy, he went on television today and made a new proposal to end the shutdown. And that proposal was basically, “You give me $5.7 billion and I’ll give you back the Dreamers.”

Am I the only one who thinks that sounds like a hostage negotiation? I can’t wait to see his written proposal. [A ransom note appears on screen.] By the way, these protections he’s offering aren’t even real laws, they’re just vague promises he’s making. And I trust a promise from Donald Trump as much as I trust R. Kelly in a Claire’s boutique.


Yeah, I agree. That speech sucked. First of all, he didn’t even say hi. He just started talking, like we was already talking. I found that to be rude. Then he said he’s going to stop half the crime and 90 percent of the heroin with something called slats. Which as you can see is a wall without all the wall. Hear that, Mexico? Good luck trying to crack this code. What are you going to do, pass your drugs and small children through those giant slats? Imagine you’re a Coast Guard or TSA or any of the thousands of government workers that are actually stopping drugs and crime from getting into this country, and you haven’t been paid in a month. And the president gets on TV — doesn’t say sorry, doesn’t even say hi — but instead, he’s like, “Hey, what do you all think about slats?”


BuzzFeed published a story that said Robert Mueller had evidence of Trump committing an impeachable crime. But the details were so sketchy that even Mueller’s team had to be like, “Sorry, fake news.” How disappointing was that? You know how many suburban moms had to retract their group texts to the family reading, “We got him!!!” The crazy part is that the White House is now celebrating that Mueller disputed only this one aspect of the investigation, while there’s still like 100 other crimes still on the table. If you got tested for every STD, and your doctor said, “Well, the good news is, you don’t have chlamydia,” you wouldn’t be like, “That’s all I need to hear, doc — no condoms for this guy.”


Look, BuzzFeed, I think it’s great — we all think it’s great that you all want to help. But this isn’t really what we need from you. Y’all are BuzzFeed, you do memes and lists. Everybody’s got that aunt who has roaches, and every Thanksgiving, she’s like, “Hey, y’all, what should I bring?” And we’re like, “Uh, ice. You bring the ice, because we don’t want to be picking raisins out of the turkey.” That’s you, BuzzFeed, you bring the Ice. As Dr. King once said, “Don’t go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.” There’s no shame in that. We all play a role. Look, sometimes, kids come up to me and they’ll say, “Michael Che, I get all my news from you.” And I say, “Don’t do that.” I bring the ice.

Weekend Update Deskside Bit of the Week

Playing Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts and 2020 presidential hopeful, Kate McKinnon sought to establish herself as a fighter: “I’m like if ‘Monday Night Raw’ was hosted by Terry Gross,” she said. McKinnon also took potshots at potential Democratic rivals like Kirsten Gillibrand (whom she called “Kirsten Stole-My-Brand”) and rued her decision to take a DNA test to prove that her family had origins in the Cherokee and Delaware tribes:

“I did the DNA test,” she said, “and the test came back 100 percent bad idea. Who knew race science wasn’t a good PR strategy?”

Fake Commercial of the Week

If you’ve kept up with the conversation around a recent Gillette advertisement that asks consumers to give more thought to patterns of toxic male behavior and turns the razor company’s slogan into a moral question — “Is this the best a man can get?” — you’ll have the proper context for this “S.N.L.” parody: a fake commercial for Kool-Aid, in which men engage in toxic conduct — say, bursting into a business meeting and interrupting a female colleague — while under the influence of the popular flavored drink. As a solemn voice-over reminds viewers, “The Kool-Aid boys watching today will be the Kool-Aid men of tomorrow.”

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