SNL’s Trump And Clinton Break Character To Escape An Election Sketch

For a moment during last weekend’s broadcast, Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin abandoned their signature characters and hugged the opposition.

SNL’s Trump And Clinton Break Character To Escape An Election Sketch

WHAT: The cold open from the final pre-election episode of Saturday Night Live.

WHO: Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin.

WHY WE CARE: SNL has gotten a great deal of mileage out of this year’s debates. From bringing in Larry David as a Bernie Sanders ringer back in spring, to Alec Baldwin as a Donald Trump ringer this fall, the show has steadily spun gold from the candidates’ words and positions. (Kate McKinnon, it should be noted, won an Emmy for her work on Saturday Night Live this year). With the election coming to a close tomorrow, the show is losing its most reliable inspiration of late, so the last pre-voting day episode was bound to be something special.

The cold open started out in a very familiar way: Baldwin and McKinnon in a two-shot, answering questions from a talking head (played by Cecily Strong). It’s a typical, not-quite-cathartic-enough satire of how many stories the media has overlooked in favor of Clinton’s email saga. But then, nearly seven minutes in, something happens. Alec Baldwin suddenly seems exhausted and disgusted by this election. (It’s what the script calls for, obviously, but it’s a safe bet the performer himself also feels this way). He and McKinnon acknowledge how they feel, and abandon the premise of the sketch in favor of venturing out into the world. It’s a moment with an epic feel, courtesy of an Arcade Fire soundtrack, and an appropriate nod toward the healing America is going to require after this election no matter who wins. Watch below, and don’t forget to vote on Tuesday.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.