It wasn’t a Saturday Night Live skit, but it could have been.
On Tuesday’s installment of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski played out a deliciously uncomfortable flirtation concerning their marriage plans while pundits at the table giggled nervously and tried to change the subject.
It was, by most accounts, the first time the fiftysomething recent-divorcees acknowledged their intimate relationship on the air since Scarborough proposed at the Hotel du Cap in southern France last May and Brzezinski accepted.
The awkward encounter commenced when one of the guests, historian Rick Perlstein, chided Scarborough for allegedly interrupting Brzezinski when she was trying to make a point about Facebook and California Sen. Kamala Harris.
“I’m curious, did your earpiece go out?” Scarborough asked Perlstein, who was appearing on the show from Boston. “Did you not hear her say that before? I knew she was trying to say something and she said it and I followed up.”
Addressing Executive Producer Alex Korson in the control room, Scarborough went on: “Alex, is Rick’s earpiece working?”
“It’s fine,” Korson muttered.
Scarborough then stopped Brzezinski as she teased a segment on the CIA and Afghanistan: “Hold on, were you trying to say something?... Because if you want to say something, it’s important to me.”
“I know—you want to hear everything,” Brzezinski retorted, and then let out a whoop of nervous laughter. As panelists in the studio started to giggle, Brzezinski gestured at an apparently embarrassed Andrea Mitchell, NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent, and exclaimed: “Look! Andrea’s having a meltdown.”
“You know what? I think you’re right,” Scarborough pressed on.
“Thank you,” Brzezinski stage-whispered.
“Have you ever not been right, sweetie?” Scarborough asked, and grabbed Brezinski’s left hand—the one adorned by a massive diamond engagement ring.
“Oh God! Don’t do that! That’s a no! That’s a no!” Brzezinski shouted, pulling her hand away.
“We just crossed the line,” Scarborough said, to which Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson agreed, “You really did.”
“Oh my God!” Brzezinski shouted again.
“We haven’t done that since we’ve been engaged,” Scarborough pressed on.
“No, no, no! Stop! Don’t talk about it!” Brzezinski protested.
“Do you think Noah gave you that ring?” Scarborough demanded, referring to Commentary Editor Noah Rothman. “We’re engaged!” Scarborough added.
At which point Robinson desperately turned to Mitchell: “Andrea, what do you think about North Korea?”
And Brzezinski responded with a scream.
“We’re, like, really old people,” Scarborough explained.
“Wow, you just did that,” Brzezinski said.
“I just did what?”
“Nothing. You touched my hand. Wait till we’re married.”
At which point Scarborough turned to the camera and addressed viewers: “I promise, we will not make you uncomfortable anymore.”
Over to you, Alex Moffat and Kate McKinnon.