During its first-ever live broadcast in all time zones across the continental United States and Canada, “Saturday Night Live” declared it was “elimination night” during a cold open teasing President Donald Trump over alleged feuding between top aides Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.
Playing Kushner was SNL alumnus and Saturday’s host Jimmy Fallon, who left the show in its 29th season.
Alec Baldwin returned to reprise his role as Trump, this time contemplating his first 100 days in office.
"These 100 days have been such a success, and I’m so sad my presidency is coming to an end," Trump tells Vice President Mike Pence, played by cast member Beck Bennett.
When Pence reminds Trump he has much longer than 100 days in office, Trump replies, "I don’t know, have you seen my tweets about North Korea?"
Baldwin's Trump reflects on several major decisions that took place in the Oval Office like dropping missiles in Syria, the “Mother of all Bombs” in Afghanistan, and discussing classified information with the Japanese prime minister — until Pence reminds him that those things all happened at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort.
Pence urges Trump to address the issue of his top advisers being at each other's throats, prompting Trump to call Bannon and Kushner into the Oval Office.
Bannon is played by cast member Mikey Day dressed as a black-cloaked skeleton, and Fallon, dressed as Kushner wearing a blazer beneath a Kevlar vest, enters to the EMF song "Unbelievable." The outfit is a nod to a viral photo of Kushner wearing a similar outfit during a trip to a military base in Iraq.
“There’s been a lot of drama in the house,” Trump tells the two men. “But one of you has to go. It’s elimination night.”
In an homage to the reality competition show, “America’s Next Top Model,” Trump tells the men he has a picture of one of them in his hand. The person pictured gets to stay.
“If you don’t see your photo you must immediately leave your office, and join Kellyanne Conway in the basement," Baldwin's Trump says. "But don’t worry, your journey doesn’t end tonight — because you’ll get to come back and decide if I go to prison."
Trump reveals he’s holding a picture of Kushner, and Bannon congratulates Kushner before being dragged away by another reaper.
"Have a seat at your new desk," Trump tells Kushner, motioning to his Oval Office desk. "I'd like you to, uh, just fix everything. If you need me, I'll be over here at my desk."
Later in the show, Melissa McCarthy revived her role as press secretary Sean Spicer to poke fun at a gaffe made by the real Spicer earlier in the week, in which he said Hitler never used chemical weapons on his own people. The real Spicer also called concentration camps, “Holocaust centers.”
Spicer later apologized for the remarks.
Dressed as the Easter bunny, which Spicer once played during President George W. Bush's White House Easter Egg Roll, McCarthy entered to her typical refrain of, “Shut up! Shut up!”
McCarthy’s Spicer reminded everyone that Trump bombed Syria “while eating the most beautiful piece of cake this week, and that is a fact.” The line poked fun at an interview by the president with Fox News during which the real Trump described eating “beautiful” chocolate cake while discussing the missile strike with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago.
McCarthy's Spicer says during a press conference about the Syria missile strike, "Spicey finally made a mistake."
“Everybody freaked. They were all like, 'Boo-hoo, what about the Holocaust Centers.' Yeah I know they’re not the holocaust centers. I know that," Spicer says. "I clearly meant to say ‘concentration clubs.’”
Later, McCarthy’s Spicer made a dig at the United Airlines fiasco while still discussing the Holocaust.
“I am sensitive to the fact they were sent there on trains but at least they didn’t have to fly united.” Spicer said.
After going over the story of Passover with dolls — a recurring gag when McCarthy plays Spicer — the fake Press Secretary ended the conference.
“By the way, the president's probably going to bomb North Korea, so eat as much candy as you want because this is probably our last Easter on earth,” Spicer says.
In the show's "Weekend Update" segment, co-host Colin Jost mentioned breaking news Saturday night about a failed North Korean missile launch.
"Just hours ago North Korea launched a missile, but as soon as it took off it exploded," Jost said. "North Korea said it was a tribute to Trump’s first 100 days."
Saturday was SNL's first of four shows to be aired live at the same time across the continental United States and Canada.
The new format seemed to pay off with viewers. The episode averaged 7.9 million viewers and a 2.3 rating in the key adults 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen's live-same-day measure. That's the show's best since the Feb. 11 episode hosted by Baldwin brought in 10.8 million viewers and 3.1 in the demographic.
NBC noted that SNL's demo score, which will grow with time-shifted viewing factored in, makes it the No. 3 entertainment telecast of last week, behind CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" and Fox's "Empire."
Saturday's showing continues SNL's hot streak. NBC's late-night mainstay is having its most-watched season in 23 years, with an average of 11 million viewers in "live-plus-7" ratings, compared to 11.2 million in 1993-94 — a season that featured Phil Hartman, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler and Al Franken.
Compared to the same point last season, "SNL" viewership is up 22 percent in the demo and 28 percent in total viewers.
Actors Chris Pine on May 6, Melissa McCarthy on May 13, and Dwayne Johnson on May 20 will also host live shows aired at the same time coast-to-coast.