During its season premiere last week, Saturday Night Live trotted out celebrity guests and ex–cast members to jazz up its familiar formula. In the episode’s cold open, Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump blustered about impeachment proceedings; relief for the president (and for viewers) arrived in the form of the Showtime character Ray Donovan, a fixer played by the actor Liev Schreiber. Last night’s episode, which again began with an impeachment-focused sketch, traded Schreiber for a different guest—Matthew Broderick, in the role of a laissez-faire Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
As Pompeo, Broderick offered a breezy counterpart to Kate McKinnon’s histrionic Rudy Giuliani and Beck Bennett’s overwhelmed Mike Pence. “The other thing that we could do is just flee the country. There’s a whole list of countries that would love to have us: North Korea, Saudi Arabia. End of list,” Broderick noted midway through the sketch. (More compelling, though, was his tugging on some nostalgia strings as he exited, remixing a famous Ferris Bueller’s Day Off line: “Impeachment moves pretty fast. If you don’t look around, you might miss it.”)
Indeed, the best moments of the night were the lines that felt most playful—and self-aware. As the episode host, the writer and actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge spent much of her opening monologue speaking about the exhilarating success of her Amazon series Fleabag, which racked up several trophies at last month’s Emmys. She began by noting that people always ask if she’s like the titular character, whom she describes as “sexually depraved, foul-mouthed, and dangerous.” Taking a beat, she continued: “And I always have to say to them, ‘Yes, you’re absolutely right.’”