Brow Beat

Alec Baldwin Returns on Weekend Update, but Kenan Thompson’s “Blacks for Trump” Guy Steals the Show

Saturday Night Live’s special summer editions of Weekend Update continue, and each installment makes a compelling case for the off-season experiment: There is simply too much fodder for comedy—dark comedy though it may be—for SNL’s writers to wait until the show’s return in the fall. Case in point: This week’s episode began with a cold open starring (the Emmy-nominated) Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump at his rally in Phoenix.

Given the pace of Trump’s scandals, there’s a lot to squeeze in here. First, a quick joke about Trump’s unfortunate eclipse-peeking incident on Monday (“A lot of people don’t know this, but you can damage your eyes while looking at an eclipse”), then on to his self-victimization, his continued attacks on the media, and his rewriting of history. “As we all know, there was a tragic victim who came out of Charlottesville,” said Baldwin-as-Trump. “Me.”

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There was also a gag about the dearly departed Steve Bannon as the Grim Reaper, but the real star of the cold open was regular scene-stealer Kenan Thompson in the background as the “Blacks for Trump” guy—who in real life is also known as Michael the Black Man and who is regularly stationed behind Trump at rallies, where he will be visible to the camera. Thompson nails the role, applauding Trump’s comments, heckling inappropriately, and holding up signs that devolve from “BLACKS FOR TRUMP” to “BLACKS FOR WHITES” to “CASH 4 GOLD.” When Trump wants to know if he’s really black, the response is delivered with Thompson’s usual impeccable timing: “That’s what the ad said you was looking for.”

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