Fall arrived a little early Thursday night and so did Alec Baldwin, reprising he-who-has-revived-an-already-outstanding career as well as he who promises (or threatens) to define it, too: 45.
Squinting those blue eyes -- damaged from looking at the eclipse, incapable of determining the one black member of his cheering section (Kenan Thompson) from the rest -- and punching out that lower lip, TV’s most famous impression of Donald Trump opened Thursday’s final edition of “Weekend Update.”
(Watch Baldwin’s skit here on YouTube. Warning: The video contains language that some users may deem offensive.)
This will presumably be our last glimpse of “SNL” -- and Trump/Baldwin -- until the season opener, on Sept. 30.
“Folks, it’s never too early to campaign for 2020,” he said at a faux Phoenix rally. “Mike Pence is already doing it. “
He then promised “to give you the hits -- the electoral map, drain the swamp, lock her up, all of them -- but first I want to talk about Charlottesville. There was a tragic victim that came out of Charlottesville:
“The media has treated me so unfairly by reporting my remarks, even the bad ones.”
At that point, Thompson’s audience character held up a sign: “Cash 4 gold.”
The grim reaper -- Steve Bannon (who else) -- turned up for his curtain call and presumably his final appearance as well.
Baldwin as Trump has been a cultural phenom, of course, while this past July earned him a best supporting actor in a comedy nod. He’s expected to win, but if he doesn’t, expect a gloating told ya so tweet from someone out there. But what’s especially interesting about last night is that Baldwin -- especially busy filming “Boss Baby 2,” “M: 1 6: Mission Impossible,” and prepping for the live production of “A Few Good Men” (did I mention that book with Kurt Andersen yet? I just did? Good.) -- presumably won’t have much time left over for Trump. But he did manage five minutes last night, plus it’s inconceivable to imagine he won’t star in the season opener in late September.
Early last spring he hinted that he likely wouldn’t be doing Trump much longer, given the press of his commitments and the caustic, divisive atmosphere in the country. He subsequently said -- in effect -- never mind. He’ll be back. He said in an interview on CNN in April, “yeah, we’re going to fit it in,” although viewers should expect only “a few carrots” as opposed to the “whole meal.”
Last night, the aperitif.