‘Saturday Night Live’: Quinta Brunson Makes Hosting Debut; Donald Trump Skewered in Cold Open
Class is back in session with “Abbott Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson, whose April 1 hosting debut on “Saturday Night Live” featured a comedic lesson on why she and her character, Janine Teagues, are actually nothing alike.
“I love that people are enjoying ‘Abbott,’ but I wish that they didn’t expect me to be exactly like my character all the time in public. Janine Teagues is a second grade teacher who is caring and wholesome, but I’m the opposite. I mean, I’m not a filthy whore but I like to have fun,” Brunson joked.
For viewers not familiar with Brunson, the actor provided a biting description of her acclaimed mockumentary series that caused an eruption of laughter among the crowd: “It’s a network sitcom, like ‘Friends,’ but instead of being about a group of friends it’s about a group of teachers, instead of New York it’s Philadelphia and instead of not having Black people, it does.”
The Emmy winner paralleled the series to her own background, growing up in Philadelphia as the child of a teacher. Brunson went on to explain how, as a result, some viewers assume she has a detailed understanding of the public school system: “I just want people to lower their expectations of me,” she said. “I’m still young — still figuring things out.”
By the same token, Brunson said she often downplays her interactions with celebrities when talking with her family. She cited one example of a time she lied to her mother about meeting former president Barack Obama, and presented a video of the two of them as proof. In the clip, Obama pays recognition to Brunson’s mother for devoting her life to being a teacher, which he called “the most important job there is.”
“Remember how important teachers are, acknowledge the work they do every day, and for the love of God, pay them the money they deserve,” Brunson added after the video concluded.
The episode opened with featured player James Austin Johnson portraying Donald Trump in a political sketch that comes two days after the former president was indicted by a grand jury. With Trump’s indictment, he is the first president in U.S. history to ever be charged with a crime.
“Frankly, it’s time that I come clean, admit that I broke the law and go quietly to prison,” Johnson said, embodying Trump. “April Fools. That was a prank. I was doing a Jim from ‘The Office.’ But make no mistake, what the radical-led democrats are doing to me is worse than any crime I’ve ever committed, and I’ve committed a lot — close to 34.”
After delivering the speech, Johnson’s Trump was joined by Kenan Thompson as Don King, the boxing promoter and known Trump supporter. The two shared a heartfelt moment on stage, singing Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ “Islands in the Stream.”
Rapper Miles McCollum, known to fans as Lil Yachty, also made his first-time appearance on the long-running sketch show as the evening’s musical guest. The two-time Grammy nominee released his fifth studio album, “Let’s Start Here” at the beginning of 2023.
“Saturday Night Live” stars Kenan Thompson, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, Bowen Yang, Chloe Fineman, Punkie Johnson and Andrew Dismukes as well as Michael Che and Colin Jost, co-anchors of Weekend Update. James Austin Johnson, Sarah Sherman, Marcello Hernández, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker are featured players among the ensemble.
Series creator Lorne Michaels and director Liz Patrick are at the helm of the long-running series, which is currently on its 48th season. The show is produced by Broadway Video and SNL Studios.
Watch “Saturday Night Live” at 8:30 p.m. PT/11:30 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.
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