Brow Beat

Bill Hader and Ben Stiller Took Jabs at the Cohen Hearing on SNL, but Only Kyle Mooney Came Close to Embodying its Fundamental Stupidity

Kyle Mooney, dressed as Paul Gosar, questions Ben Stiller, dressed as Michael Cohen.
“That’s been estabrished!”
NBC

There was no way that Saturday Night Live’s cold open this week would be anything other than a highly-condensed version of Michael Cohen’s shitshow of a congressional hearing. The proceedings packed in more stupidity per second than the Republican National Convention, and nearly as much as CPAC. The show’s cold opens tend to impose a “Parade of Morons” structure even when it’s not already there—see, e.g., the countless sketches where Baldwin’s Donald Trump meets with his advisors one-by-one—and this time, Congressional Republicans graciously handed it to them on a silver platter. The challenge was finding some way to make the spectacle of Republicans spending seven-and-a-half hours pretending there was still some confusion over whether or not the president was a crook, a cheat, and a white supremacist funnier than it already was. That’s a tall order, but they more or less pulled it off:

But the real star here was Kyle Mooney as Arizona’s Paul Goser. Goser, you may recall, is such a beloved figure that during his last campaign, six of his nine brothers and sisters cut an attack ad accusing him of racism and endorsing his opponent. He came off even worse during the Cohen hearings. Mooney’s greatest gift as a comedic actor is his ability to slip into a middle-school-like mixture of indignance, rage, and mind-boggling stupidity, and Goser is the part he was born to play. Still, Mooney doesn’t quite reach the depths of the actual testimony, which is a masterpiece of marble-mouthed gibberish that would have made Cliff Nazarro proud. Watch Michael Cohen—Michael Cohen!—run rings around him:

There’s so much to love here, but the best part is probably Gosar trying to quote an earlier statement from Elijah Cummings, getting as far as “This is a real…” then consulting his notes for eight full seconds before coming up with the end of the sentence: “sad state.” It’s not fair to fault Mooney for failing to plumb the full depths of Gosar’s placid stupidity—think of the elective brain surgeries he’d need to fully embody the role!—but it’s worth noting that our actual reality is, once again, about a million times dumber than the world of Saturday Night Live cold opens. And we don’t even get an afterparty.

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