Kate McKinnon’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg impression, and her many “burns,” came back to “Saturday Night Live” in this week’s cold open, in which Ego Nwodim debuted as soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
In a major contrast to last week’s “Fox & Friends” opening, this skit was less about skewering humor and more about a celebration with Jackson in the Oval Office, awaiting the White House celebration of her historic confirmation, and meeting the ghosts of those who broke the glass ceiling and the color barrier.
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg, played by McKinnon appeared, Jackson asks her, “I’d love to know what advice you have for me as a woman on the Supreme Court.”
“Okay, here’s my advice. Always label your lunches. So the justices, they got sticky fingers. Second, if you are anything like me, white ladies are going to start wearing buttons of your face.”
“Look, I know your confirmation process put you through the ringer, but in the end people do the right thing. And you know, i was confirmed in the Senate 96 to 3, so what was your vote?’
“53 to 47,” Jackson said. “Yeah, a lot of them walked out and one guy kept asking me if babies are racist.”
“Ted Cruz?” Ginsburg asked.
“You know it was. You should have seen that man. He actually sat there on TV and read a children’s book at me.”
“Well, it was Ted Cruz, so I bet the book was called, “Goodnight Cancun,” and that’s a Gins burn,” referencing to Cruz’s trip to Cancun during a major snow storm with a power grid crisis last year in Texas.
Jackson also interacted with Thurgood Marshall (Kenan Thompson), the first Black justice on the Supreme Court; Harriet Tubman (Punkie Johnson) and Jackie Robinson (Chris Redd), who gives off a scream once he is told the salaries for today’s baseball players.
“So what advice for me do you have as a person of color on the Supreme Court?” Jackson asked Marshall.
“Well, never give up. Democracy can be slow and messy. It stumbles, but over time, it moves forward. I mean, I was the first Black Supreme Court justice, so you must be what, the 10th, the 20th?”
Jackson replied, “Nope. Just the third.
“No further questions, your honor,” Marshall said.
Jake Gyllenhaal returned to “SNL” for the first time since 2007, reflecting in his opening monologue about how long ago that was.
“That was like 400 Marvel movies ago,” the star joked. “To give you an idea of what it was like in 2007, in the show I hosted, there was a George W. Bush sketch, there were jokes about the first iPhone, and this is a photo of me from my monologue.”
The show then cut to an image of Gyllenhaal singing in a wig and gown, with Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig serving as his backup singers.
“There I am in full drag, singing a song from ‘Dreamgirls,’ to promote a movie where I played a gay cowboy,” said the host. “That was actually probably the least problematic thing in that episode, but looking back, I feel like I was a totally different person.”
Gyllenhaal then went on to discuss the fact that he’s developed a reputation as being an “intense method actor,” despite the fact that he “wasn’t even that good.“
He continues, “I remember for this movie ‘Nightcrawler,’ I went to the director and I was like, ‘Get ready for me to lose 48 pounds and win the Oscar.’ And then a week later I was like, ‘How would you like to see an actor lose 36 pounds and win the Golden Globe?” he joked.
The truth is, Gyllenhaal said he was only “doing that method stuff” because he thought that’s what you need to do to be a serious actor, and it led him to forget “how to have fun.”
“That’s when I realized something I should have realized a long time ago—acting is a really stupid job,” he said. “It’s pretend and it’s fun, and it should be filled with joy. Well, I’m finally embracing that joy again, and that’s why I’m back standing on this stage.”
Gyllenhaal then gave a passionate performance of Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” with Chloe Fineman, Ego Nwodim and Cecily Strong backing him up.
In the first sketch of the night, a game show host (Thompson) tries to find out why contestants (Gyllenhaal, Redd, and Fineman) liked certain photos on Instagram, and questioned their intentions.
An embarrassed Gyllenhaal liked a photo of another woman, despite having a girlfriend. Fineman liked a picture from five years ago posted by her ex-boyfriend’s sister, in the hopes she is reminded to bring her up at the next family gathering.
Weekend Update kicked off with co-host Michael Che noting that former President Obama returned to the White House this week for the first time in five years, jokingly referring to Biden as ‘Vice President.’ “
Hey Barack,” Che deadpanned, “don’t confuse him.”
Co-host Colin Jost explained that as punishment for slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars, the Academy has banned Smith from attending the awards show for the next 10 years.
“But is that a punishment?” he said. “He can still be nominated and win an award. He can even go to the afterparty. He just doesn’t have to attend the four-hour ceremony where someone is definitely going to make fun of his wife again.”
Jost, who hosted the 70th Primetime Emmys with Che, remarked that a real punishment would be to make Smith host next year’s Oscars. “Because trust me,” he said. “Nothing will make you question your choices in life more than hosting an award show.”
Next week Lizzo will be the host as well as musical guest.