This week’s Saturday Night Live opened with a look at the Alabama senate race, in which good, God-fearing Republicans are supporting Roy Moore, a man who was already wildly unqualified before news broke that he allegedly groped a 14-year-old when he was in his 30s. It’s not exactly the funniest premise for comedy, but then it’s not exactly the funniest premise for an Alabama senate race, either. Mikey Day and Beck Bennett get a couple of laughs out of the subject, but once they land the obligatory conversion therapy joke, there’s not much here but the fact that conservative Alabamans, having already sent a man who boasted about sexual assault to the White House, are now enthusiastically signing up for a marriage of convenience with an alleged child molester. Which will be pretty funny the next time an evangelical tries to tell the country anything about morality, but right now, it’s just depressing.
You know what is funny, though? Kate McKinnon playing Jeff Sessions as the mischievous Keebler elf of white supremacy. From the moment the diminutive attorney general makes his surprise entrance, this skit takes off. Mikey Day’s Roy Moore is a better foil for McKinnon than Baldwin’s Donald Trump, because—and this is astonishing, but true—a cowboy-hat-wearing, teenage-girl-chasing bible-thumper is way less over-the-top than the president. Day gets to play straight man in a way Baldwin can’t, and McKinnon rises to the occasion with some of that sweet, sweet Sessions crazy:
Now, Roy, you’ve been doing some controversial stuff—wave a gun around on stage, tell folks Muslims shouldn’t be allowed in Congress and that 9/11 was God’s punishment for sodomy—and I love it! You check a lot of boxes for me, Roy!
But, on Saturday Night Live as in life, all the really good stuff happens when Roy Moore is out of the room. In this case, after kicking Moore out with a hearty “I’m Alabama, but you, ysir, are too Alabama,” Sessions has a heart-to-heart wth his father, to whom he bears a distinct family resemblance. Moore’s actions are so reprehensible that McKinnon’s Jeff Sessions almost manages to connect a few dots before his dad talks him down:
But there’s so many men out there acting like monsters—Mr. Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, the President. Daddy, has this been happening forever? Have I both fostered and benefited from a culture of systemic oppression? No? Well, that’s a relief! I love you, Daddy!