Their challenge this week got exponentially harder after a similar allegation was made against one of their own: Democratic Sen. Al Franken, an original SNL writer who worked on the show for more than 15 years.
Rather than tackle Franken’s admitted misconduct in the cold open, which took on Donald Trump Jr.’s secret dealings with WikiLeaks, SNL waited until “Weekend Update,” where Colin Jost and Michael Che reluctantly went in on the man who spent many nights delivering comic reports from behind that desk.
And they deserve credit for wasting no time getting to the matter at hand. “Thursday is Thanksgiving, and there is so much to be thankful for this year,” Jost said, before making a sharp turn. “Unless you are a human woman.” With that line, Franken’s photo appeared on screen next to Bill Cosby, Roy Moore, Louis C.K., Donald Trump, and Harvey Weinstein.
Then, after showing viewers the photo of Franken either groping or pretending to grope radio host Leeann Tweeden on a USO flight in 2006, Jost said, “Now, I know this photo looks bad, but remember it also is bad. And sure this was taken before Franken ran for public office, but it was also taken after he was a sophomore in high school. It’s pretty hard to be like ‘Oh, come on, he didn’t know any better, he was only 55.’”
As for Tweeden’s claim that Franken forcibly kissed her during a rehearsal for a sketch he wrote to perform in front of the troops, the anchor added, “Come on man, didn’t the troops have it hard enough without having to sit through sketch comedy? Most people don't even want to watch sketch comedy after ‘Update’ ends.”
Then, it was Che’s turn. He turned his attention to President Trump, who tweeted attacks on Franken while staying silent on Roy Moore, who is “accused of way worse, by the way,” Che noted.
“But Franken is a liberal and Trump and Moore are conservatives,” Che added. “And in this country, everybody has to pick a side. Except for me. I think they’re all bitches. I don't even know what side I would be in if I had to pick. Maybe I’m liberal, because I live in a gay neighborhood. But then again, maybe I’m conservative, because I’ll never live in a black neighborhood again.”
Then, continuing his crusade against R. Kelly, Che asked, “Why are Republicans trying so hard to protect Roy Moore from this case? It’s not like he wrote the remix to ‘Ignition.’”