Saturday Night Live

'SNL' Tackles New Hampshire Democratic Debate

RuPaul hosted for the first time and Justin Bieber returned as a musical guest for the third time

"Saturday Night Live"

This week’s “Saturday Night Live” Cold Open parodied Friday’s Democratic debate in New Hampshire ahead of Tuesday’s primary election in the state. The segment particularly focused on the candidates’ reactions to the Iowa Democratic caucus’ technical issues and unexpected results.

During the Monday, Feb. 3 voting event, an app Democratic volunteers were using to collect and report votes failed, resulting in a three-day delay in the release of the final results. Although the vote count showed a near tie between former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., NBC News and many other outlets refused to call a winner because of data inconsistencies.  

“Iowa was a disaster, President Trump has gone super sane since his acquittal and now it’s up to New Hampshire to start turning things around for the Democrats,” Mikey Day, as debate moderator and ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, said.

Ego Nwodim as ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis and Alex Moffat as David Muir joined the moderator panel “for optics,” Day’s Stephanopoulos said.

Seven candidates took the stage for Friday’s debate and the “SNL” parody: former Vice President Joe Biden (Jason Sudeikis); Sanders (Larry David); Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. (Kate McKinnon); Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. (Rachel Dratch); Buttigieg (Colin Jost); billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer (Pete Davidson) and entrepreneur Andrew Yang (Bowen Yang).  

When Day’s Stephanopoulos asked Buttigieg who he really thought won Iowa after both he and Sanders declared victory.

“Donald Trump,” Jost’s Buttigieg initially said before correcting himself to say he won. 

The other candidates also comment on their performance in Iowa caucuses.

“You are looking at the other half of the New York Times endorsement, but guess what, Elizabeth [Warren} is J.Lo and I’m Shakira,” Dratch’s Klobuchar said, referring to the Super LIV Halftime show performers. 

“Why am I not doing better?” Klobuchar continued in her closing statements “I’m the most reasonable person on stage. Instead of tearing Democrats down, I get along with everyone up here.”

McKinnon’s Warren addressed voters’ and experts’ continuing concerns about her electability as a female candidate.

“They worry about whether I’m electable,” Warren said. “I have a great solution for that: Elect me.” 

David’s Sanders instead flipped the topic to the social media responsibility as “king of an army of internet trolls called Bernie Bros.” He also noted his popularity on online forum 4chan.

“Could I stop them in their tracks?” Sanders asks rhetorically. “Of course. Should I? Yes. Will I? Eh.” 

Drag queen RuPaul took the “SNL” stage as a host for the first time.

“My name is Ru which is short for ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’” he introduced himself before describing the premise of the hit drag queen competition. “Our girls gag us with their eleganza, death drop for the children and slay the house down boots.”

He donned a highlighter pink suit instead of his drag queen jewels, but RuPaul reminded the audience of his common saying that “You’re born naked and the rest is drag. So whatever you put on after you get out of the shower, baby that’s your drag.”

After giving an edited version of his time in 1980s New York City’s drag scene — “Yonkers. Corrections officer. House of Pancakes. Feet.” — RuPaul shared some much needed drag wisdom.

RuPaul told the audience not to take life too seriously, with the exceptions of love and kindness.

“Just have fun,” he said. “If you follow your heart, dare to be different and use all the colors in the crayon box, who knows where you’ll end up. If you’re lucky, you just might find yourself hosting ‘Saturday Night Live.’”

The “Weekend Update” segment turned to President Donald Trump’s reaction to being acquitted of impeachment charges by the Senate this week, which some Democrats have called a cover-up.

“But does this look like a guy who can pull of a coverup?” Colin Jost asked as he showed a picture of Trump. “It’s like the day at the nursing home when they let the residents put their own makeup on.”

Jost then detailed how the president spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and held up a newspaper with a story about the acquittal.

“I assume to prove that prayers don’t work,” Jost said.

After describing Trump’s White House speech the day after the acquittal, Michael Che first showed a clip of the O.J. Simpson trial, where the former football player was found not guilty of murder.

Che later described the president’s other reactions to the acquittal, like the firing of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified to Congress about the Ukraine affair, and his twin brother. 

“Vindman received a Purple Heart due to a wound in combat, while Trump has a purple heart because his blood type is hamburger grease,” Che said.

Cast member Chloe Fineman joined the desk to talk about the acting techniques used in some of the Oscar favorites, like “steering wheel acting.”

“It’s the scene in every Oscar movie where a broken woman is finally alone in her car and just lets it all go like…” as Fineman started to sob and scream.

“Is she laughing or crying?” Jost asked.

”Neither. She’s acting,” Fineman said.

The “Weekend Update” desk also tackled the week’s less political news, like McDonald’s revealing an Oreo Shamrock shake to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its St. Patrick’s Day inspired treat. 

“Coincidentally, Oreo shamrock is also what Colin [Jost] calls [Barack] Obama,” Che said.

Cathy Anne (Cecily Strong), a woman who screams outside of Che’s window, ended the segment to react to Trump’s impeachment acquittal.

For his first set, musical guest Justin Bieber performed “Yummy” against a teal backdrop. The double bassist, cellist and guitarist who opened the song with him were later replaced by backup dancers, whose shadows were cast against the background after the stage lights were turned down.

Bieber took the “SNL” stage for the second time that night to perform “Intention.” Rapper Quavo, of Migos fame, joined him on stage. Behind them, neon lights flashed with the song’s lyrics. 

The two songs are part of his upcoming album “Changes,” whose release will officially end Bieber’s five-year music hiatus. The album drops on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

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