For the show tottering through a lackluster season with bottom-feeder ratings, who better to give Saturday Night Live a little bit of a hand than the President of the United States?
Hosting this weekend’s all-New York-themed SNL episode, Julie Louis-Dreyfus, whose most notable current role is her lead in HBO’s hit Veep, starred last night’s slot in the most predictable but certainly entertaining manner. If viewers were expecting anything but a full onslaught of the City That Never Sleeps vibe, then they truly don’t know New York; this episode featured everything from old Big Apple-centered sitcom characters to certain notable Brooklyn-born Presidential candidates to 90s-era Jennifer Aniston, all conglomerated to give Louis-Dreyfus the big New York homecoming the award-winning actress and producer earned.
The night began on the nose on the Democratic debate floor. Kate McKinnon donned her Hillary wig and best Clinton impression while special guest star Larry David tufted out his white hair and his anti-one-percenter rage to impersonate his now recurring role of Bernie Sanders. The two faced off much like the real Clinton and Sanders did last Thursday night in Brooklyn. They bickered as per usual–both in the SNL universe and now in real life–but when they turned to the audience to answer questions, who but one of the truest New Yorkers in television history was there to pop one?
Louis-Dreyfus reprised her iconic role, one that earned her an Emmy, as Elaine from Seinfeld (sans Kramer, Larry, and George), to question Bernie Sanders (and David, of course, originally head-wrote, executive produced, and starred alongside Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld as George). She asked him what he was planning to do to parcel up the “big banks” Sanders is constantly going on about, and David gave her his best Sanders response.
“I’ll go to the big banks,” he said, “I’ll sit them down, and yada yada yada, they’ll be broken up!” to which Elaine retorted, “You can’t yada yada yada at a debate!”
To Clinton, Elaine gave her an easy time, possibly feeling a little kinship in their similar situations. “Doesn’t it suck to be the only girl in a group of guys?”
Following Elaine, Rachel Green, whose haircut suggested she just took a cab from the Friends apartment (played by Vanessa Bayer), also tossed a question to the candidates, though it was a little more to Larry David than anyone else.
Overall, the cold open was certainly the most New York-strong skit of the night, but the rest of the episode never strayed too far from its overarching theme. In another skit, Louis-Dreyfus played a forgetful Long Island actress weighed down in tons of jewelry. During “Weekend Update,” Michael Che and Colin Jost also joked around about the New York Democratic Debate and primary, as well as Trump’s newest endorsement from the New York Observer.
The episode, though featuring one of television’s most prominent actresses, is still suffering from SNL’s season-long ratings bottom-feeding. While Louis-Dreyfus did bump the show up a little from a 3.8 average rating among household markets to a 3.9, Deadline reports, she, like Peter Dinklage and like Ariana Grande, didn’t boost the show the way showrunners were likely hoping.