A week after her blockbuster turn as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on “Saturday Night Live,” Melissa McCarthy brought back the impression to lead off this week’s episode — and she was joined by another female playing one of Donald Trump’s top dudes.
This Spicer bit did not stray far from the last, with the spokesman again shouting untruths and displaying open hostility to the assembled press. Chicago was one of this week’s topics for the faux Spicer, who lied that “the murder rate is over 80 percent! EIGHTY PERCENT of the people in Chicago have been murdered and are dead.
“And that’s on you!” she yelled at the reporters. “You did that!”
The reporter who tried to interject with actual statistics (played by Cecily Strong, daughter of real-life Illinois newsman Bill Strong) got attacked by Spicer’s leafblower.
McCarthy’s debut as Spicer last week, widely hailed by the public, reportedly did not sit well with Trump, and Politico reported the president was most disturbed that a top man in the White House was portrayed by a woman.
That prompted speculation that “SNL” would take the bait and cast more women to play Trump aides in drag, and comedians including Rosie O’Donnell, Margaret Cho and Christine Baranski even volunteered for guest spots. They were all no-shows, but “SNL” cast member (and McCarthy’s “Ghostbusters” co-star) Kate McKinnon did make an appearance as another newsmaker, newly confirmed Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions.
“We all know there are two kinds of crimes: regular and black,” this Sessions said before Spicer cut him off.
The McKinnon cameo was one of the few elements setting this Spicer bit apart from the last, along with an upgrade of Spicer’s lectern to full motorization. McCarthy used it to steamroll the media assemblage before riding around the stage is a little lectern ballet, then barreling toward the camera and barking, “Live from New York! It’s Saturday Night!”
Later in the show, McKinnon’s ongoing character study of KellyAnne Conway took a dark turn as she depicted the White House counselor as a crazed, “Fatal Attraction”-style stalker menacing Jake Tapper.
The horror vignette began with Tapper (Wilmette’s Beck Bennett) leaving CNN after a show that was Conway-free because “she’s got too many credibility issues.” On returning home he finds a lingerie-clad Conway lurking inside his apartment.
“You weren’t answering my calls. You changed your number. I’m not going to be ignored!” she said, echoing Glenn Close’s signature line.
(It’s known that last week Tapper turned down Conway for his Sunday “State of the Union” show, although days later he interviewed her for 25 minutes on his CNN show, “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”)
Even as the fictional Conway pounced on him seductively, menaced him with a knife and offered to violate ethics policies on the air, Tapper stood his ground until Conway decided to take her insights elsewhere — making a call to HuffPo. But she didn’t go through with it and hung up, disgusted with herself.
A fall from the skyscraper window seemed to seal Conway’s fate, but as her body lay mangled on the sidewalk, her eyes sprang to life and she reassembled herself, horror movie style.
The bit followed earlier “SNL” films depicting Conway as a frustrated woman whose attempts at relaxation are continually interrupted by candidate Trump’s acts of weirdness, and as a showgirl craving the spotlight a la Roxie Hart in “Chicago.”
Unlike her boss, Conway generally has shown a sense of humor about her “SNL” portrayals. This portrayal may cut deeper for the real-life married mom, what with the brush with death and the threats of murder.
Though this week’s host, Alec Baldwin, has been conspicuous with his Trump impressions, he didn’t don the wig until midway through the episode, to play the president defending taking on federal judges (unsuccessfully) on “The People’s Court.” Two stories collide in this sketch: the travel ban and Trump’s constant reference to crime in Chicago.
“You understand this is a TV court, right?” Judge Milian (Strong) asked Trump.
“That’s OK,” Trump said. “I’m the TV president.”
Asked by Strong if he had “one legitimate reason we need this ban,” Baldwin’s Trump said:
“Of course I do. The bad people, they are pouring in. And you see them. It is ISIS and San Bernardino and Chicago. Look at Chicago, it’s hell.”
• In a further follow-up to Trump’s alleged contempt for women playing men, a short film had Leslie Jones lobbying to be his new impersonator on the show. She failed to win over Lorne Michaels but succeeded in fooling Melania Trump, who offered the Trumpified Jones a ride home in their limo.
• Besides McCarthy, another surprise guest was Baldwin’s “30 Rock” co-star Tracy Morgan, who joined Kenan Thompson to play the twins gestating inside Beyonce.
Contributing: Lynn Sweet