Season 44 of Saturday Night Live couldn’t have started anywhere else.
Matt Damon swooped in to portray Judge Brett Kavanaugh last night during the cold open, and he turned the Supreme Court nominee’s testimony into one-liners like “I like beer.” There was an Alyssa Milano joke.
But was it too soon? On Thursday, Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about allegations of sexual assault from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, reliving his high school years in the process.
Kavanaugh, a conservative, is feared as the Supreme Court voice who can overturn Roe v. Wade, the 45-year-old decision that keeps abortion legal. As multiple women come forward to accuse the judge of sexual misconduct, the idea of him getting a lifetime appointment to America’s highest court by President Donald Trump, who also has a long history with multiple sexual misconduct allegations, has created a crisis of conscience.
“If you think I’m angry wait until I get on that Supreme Court because then you’re all gonna pay,” Damon said in character.
On Twitter, the gag became an instant trending topic with near-universal acclaim. As comedian Rob Delaney wrote: “Matt Damon as Kavanaugh is funny because it was basically a condensed recap, not even a caricature, so you’re like holy shit that is what we literally just saw 2 days ago.”
Longtime political pundit and former Clinton advisor Paul Begala agreed. “Matt Damon perfectly captured the rage, self-aggrandizement, and self-pity of Brett Kavanaugh on the season premiere of @nbcsnl,” he tweeted.
Maybe, but I kept thinking about Alec Baldwin’s simultaneously spot-on and unfunny Trump imitation. What’s funny about verbatim quotes when the subject you’re ridiculing points his finger right back at you?