For more than a year, onetime White House strategist Steve Bannon was depicted on “Saturday Night Live” as the Grim Reaper, manipulating President Donald Trump from behind a mask and a hood.
But with Bannon ousted from both the Oval Office and Breitbart News, and his reputation among the Right sullied by his candid comments in a tell-all book, it was time for the mask to come off, and it was Bill Murray playing the man under the hood on this weekend’s episode.
Handling the role with expert timing, and not just tossing if off as he’s been known to do, the pride of Wilmette played Bannon as unremorseful and still convinced he has the potential to wield phenomenal power.
“The magic is still out there,” Murray bragged to “Fire and Fury” author Michael Wolff (Fred Armisen, another returning “SNL” alum). “Steve Bannon, the Bannon Cannon – magic! Magic, magic, magic, magic! King of kingmakers! Ozymandias! The Bannon dynasty is dawning!”
But after admitting he had little going on beyond a new web series for Crackle — “Cucks in Cars Getting Coffee” — Bannon boasted that after managing to get Trump elected president, he’s auditioning some even less likable potential candidates: Logan Paul, Martin Shkreli and Jared “The Subway Guy” Fogle.
The scene, played as an episode of “Morning Joe,” concluded with Leslie Jones appearing as new Democratic savior Oprah Winfrey, while Mika Brzezinski muttered, “I thought I smelled lavender and money …” It was the first of two Oprah appearances for Jones, who returned on Weekend Update to declare she may need to run for president to win back white women who voted for Trump and Roy Moore.
“Somebody needs to look these women in the eye,” she said, as fiance Stedman Graham (Chicago Second City alum Chris Redd) muttered affirmations, “and say, ‘You deserve my three favorite things: love, respect and A NEW PANINI MAKER!!!’ ”
This week’s host was character actor Sam Rockwell, fresh from winning a Golden Globe for his acclaimed supporting turn in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Perhaps a little too accustomed to the loose vibe of indie film sets, he committed a live-TV no-no in his first sketch.
Playing a Mr. Wizard-type TV science host frustrated with his dense young sidekicks, he blurted, “You can’t be this f—ing stupid!” Briefly covering his mouth as he realized the gaffe, he acted unfazed and charged forward with the scene as Cecily Strong, playing one of the kids, plugged her ears in shock.
Also talking dirty, if more deliberately, was Update co-anchor Colin Jost, who groused that NBC asked him to say “s-hole” when referring to Trump’s alleged immigration remarks, “even though the president can say [the full word]. ”
Without much conviction, he added, “Oops.”