Entertainment

'SNL' Takes on the Government Shutdown in Hilarious 'Deal or No Deal' Cold Open

New year, new government! Or, rather, new year, no government, as the shutdown that began December 22, 2018 continues to drag on with no end in sight. President Donald Trump and the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives have dug in their heels, refusing to budge on their respective demands, and the result is that hundreds of thousands of federal employees either aren't working, or are "essential" and must work without pay. It doesn't take a political analyst to tell you that people don't like working without pay.

The essential sticking point is that Trump wants $5 billion for his border wall, and Congress won't give it to him. Naturally, Saturday Night Live, in its first episode after a winter hiatus, brought Alec Baldwin on to reprise his role as President Trump in a skit that riffs on Deal or No Deal -- the President said Saturday that he was willing to make a deal, after all -- but with, uh, Steve Harvey (Kenan Thompson) taking over for host Howie Mandel. Guess no one had a good Howie Mandel impression in their bag of tricks. 

A host of Congressmen and Congresswomen hold briefcases with potential deals, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Kate McKinnon), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Alex Moffat), Maxine Waters (Leslie Jones), and the omnipresent freshman Congresswoman from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Melissa Villaseñor). All of them offer deals that Trump rejects, before a Clemson football player offers a White Castle crave case full of "Hamberders," which the President happily accepts. At this point, it might take something equally absurd to end the latest national nightmare. 

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Wes Rendar is a writer and Saturday Night Live expert at Thrillist.