SNL's cold open airs out the stink of GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz's various scandals

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Dennis Perkins
·2 min read
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Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon
Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon

It’s an old and tiresome cliché that comedians are sad when a truly reprehensible, world-worsening politician leaves office. Because then what will they joke about, get it? Ugh. Well, have no fear, as the resounding ouster of former president and human shitpost Donald Trump has left those slapdash satirists at Saturday Night Live plenty of festering detritus to pick up, slap a wig on, and toss out at the top of the show to recognition applause, if nothing else. This week’s GOP flotsam was especially ripe, as the Daniel Kaluuya-hosted episode began with a cold open centered on multiply alleged (checks notes) sex criminal, sex trafficker, statutory rapist, sexist H.R. nightmare, and empirical douche, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

With featured player Chloe Fineman (as Britney Spears) hosting a talk show assessing the relative guilt or innocence of various “internet pariahs,” the sketch first saw the currently under image reevaluation singer pronouncing a mostly innocent on Lil Nas X (“You know that wasn’t the real Satan, right?,” the singer and blood-shoe salesman asked the audience concerning his Fox News-baiting video), and a qualified under-advisement to renowned cartoon skunk and cat-assaulter Pepé Le Pew. (Kate McKinnon in a skunk suit, accepting his skunky fate with chastened resignation.) But there really wasn’t any doubt about the verdict on Spears last guest, Gaetz (Pete Davidson), who—in this fictionalized version of the Florida Republican, at least—admitted that his many, many actions are probably going to land him in some hot, smelly water. (Or, you know, jail.)

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In real life, it must be said of the infamously awful Gaetz, the conservative star and Fox News staple (until recently, somehow) has maintained his innocence, instead hurling customary cries of “cancel culture,” and “witch hunt,” and “How was I to know she was under 18 when I used campaign funds to transport her over state lines for sex?” Still, in this iteration, Davidson’s Gaetz could only assert the word “allegedly” to every detail of his reported conduct that Spears ran down, apart from the anecdote that Gaetz has been showing off cellphone snaps of naked women on the House floor. “Which is not a crime,” Davidson’s Gaetz pounced, “It’s just horrifying!” You know, unless the sitting congressman and guy who routinely invites Holocaust deniers as his plus-one showed them pictures of underage girls. Which, you know, allegedly. Even the disgraced Le Pew couldn’t stand sharing a sofa with the guy, hosing Gaetz down with an appropriate scent in summation.