As the country makes its final approach to Election Day and partisan pundits shout their worst-case presidential scenarios to the rooftops, most of us can use a big, warm hug. This week's Saturday Night Live provided.
The show has spent each episode this season lampooning Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton's vicious battle for the Oval Office, but SNL took a deep breath with its last pre-vote cold open by stepping back from it usual dose of crazy. The message was clear: while the show's cast, writers, and guest hosts (like "hot" Benedict Cumberbatch) still want to make you laugh or sing along (hello, Bill Murray and the Chicago Cubs), this political decision is no laughing matter.
Without a debate to mock (round three went down two weeks ago -- remember "bad hombre"?), SNL squeezed final remarks from the two candidates in an imagined CNN-set split-screen face-off. Even though Trump literally kisses the FBI, Vladimir Putin, and a member of the KKK, all that fake Erin Burnett (Cecily Strong) wants to know about is Hillary's emails -- a fitting send-up of the brain-numbing media coverage that continues to equate both candidates' infractions for the sake of a horse race. And then the sketch grinds to a halt.
Fed up with all the insult-slinging, Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon break character to admit that playing these two presidential hopefuls is exhausting as hell. If you think it feels bad watching Election 2016 from afar, they say, just think how embodying it week to week must feel. So the sketch switches gear. The payoff may leave you with hope, no matter how much impending doom you're feeling as we descend into Election Day.