One of the funnier and undervalued sketches that SNL has returned to over the last year or so is the set of Morning Joe, MSNBC’s largely insufferable news-talk show hosted by Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough. The duo are played by Kate McKinnon and Alex Moffat in the sketches and both the performers and the writing staff have made plenty of deserved digs at their on-screen relationship as co-hosts, as well as their private life as husband and wife.
The latest Morning Joe sketch, which served as the cold open to last night’s Saturday Night Live, featured a few other notable characters from the news and SNL‘s history. The big fish was the reveal of Bill Murray as Breitbart founder and unemployed bigot Steve Bannon, who came onto the show to confront “Fire and Fury” author and longtime falsifier Michael Wolff, played by Fred Armisen in another strong cameo role. Rounding out the crew was Leslie Jones, who graced the sketch in the role of Oprah Winfrey. You can check out the sketch right below.
To an extent, the 8-minutes-plus open felt like throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. The familiar jokes about Scarborough’s tendency to talk over or down to guests and co-anchors still works, largely because Scarborough still does that regularly on the actual show. The amount of guests, however, feels like they’re stuffing too much into a relatively thin premise and not letting the actors stretch their legs a bit. Murray’s take on Bannon is low-key and largely very funny but he gets in an extremely limited amount of jokes within the sketch. The same could be said for Jones’s Oprah and, most of all, Armisen’s Wolff, which is surprisingly the highlight of the entire sketch. The only really good reason for this is that they might bring these characters and these performers back and allow them to expand their depictions. Let’s hope that’s the case.
Here’s last night’s cold open: