In SNL’s cold open, Fox News and Donald Trump fundraise for Russia

Saturday Night Live (Photo by: NBCUniversal)
Saturday Night Live (Photo by: NBCUniversal) /

Saturday Night Live found a way to bring a comedic lens to the war in Ukraine. Perhaps unsurprisingly, SNL relied on Fox News and Donald Trump as the punchline.

Last week, SNL chose to acknowledge the Ukrainian crisis by opening the show with a performance by the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York. It felt like the right choice rather than trying to add comedy to a situation that was still so fresh.

But this weekend, Saturday Night Live attempted to do what it does best. The cold open focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but with a different spin.

Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson along with former President Donald Trump were made out to be the cold open’s punching bag. The opening sketch called out the trio and other republicans for comments seemingly in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

James Austin Johnson continues to shine as SNL’s Donald Trump

Kate McKinnon showcased her entertaining take on Laura Ingraham once again. And Alex Moffat proved to be a serviceable Tucker Carlson, co-hosting the mock fundraising event for Russian oligarchs sanctioned due to the war.

Carlson has become a favorite target of late-night TV over the past few years. With Donald Trump providing less material, Carlson now finds himself the subject of Daily Show bits, Late Night‘s “A Closer Look,” and Saturday Night Live cold opens.

But the real star of the show was James Austin Johnson. The rookie cast member continues to shine as Donald Trump. While Alec Baldwin’s version made a splash ahead of the 2016 election, it fizzled out over the four years Trump was in office.

Johnson has breathed new life into the character. His stream-of-consciousness take on the former president is both true to life and over-the-top enough to be a parody.

It feels as if Johnson has kicked off a majority of the episodes in season 47. His impressions of both Trump and President Joe Biden have made the featured player a valuable asset in the talented, and crowded, Saturday Night Live cast.

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What did you think of this week’s SNL cold open? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.