Watch S.N.L. and Alec Baldwin Go After Kanye West . . . Hard

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Last week on S.N.L., Pete Davidson issued a baffled—but still fairly gentle—reaction to Kanye West’s bizarre, impromptu, pro-Donald Trump rant at the end of the show’s series premiere. But two weeks after West went off script, and just a few days after that display earned him a trip to the Oval Office, S.N.L. took the gloves off. In Alec Baldwin’s first appearance of the season, it was West, not Trump, who was the main butt of the joke.

Relatively new cast member Chris Redd appeared in a MAGA hat with bugged-out eyes spouting nonsense in the show’s cold open, which dialed the jokes of last season’s “A Kanye Place” up to 11. But how well will this sketch age? If West—who recently claimed to Trump that his bipolar disorder diagnosis was incorrect—is indeed mentally ill and winds up getting some manner of treatment, how will this sketch’s jokes about “tripolar disorder” look? The show took a stab at covering itself by having Kenan Thompson-as-Jim Brown mutter something about the stigma around mental health in the black community, but the sketch still plays West’s mental state for jokes. A somewhat surprising move for a show that has given cast member Davidson multiple occasions to openly discuss his own struggle with mental health.

Host Seth Meyers also made both Trump and West the center of his opening monologue when he recalled a 2007 sketch he helped write where West interrupted a series of awards shows. This sketch, Meyers pointed out, pre-dated the infamous West-Taylor Swift incident of 2009.

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Does all this mean West’s claim that he’d host S.N.L. before the year was over was complete nonsense? Maybe. Despite the fact that Lorne Michaels has been fond of defending West’s antics in the past, this cold open feels like a very strong “thanks, but no thanks” to the singer. Then again, former host and current president Trump was invited back to Studio 8H long after Baldwin made him the show’s most popular target. Trump declined, but the always unpredictable West may not. Imagine the ratings, clicks, and headlines that episode could command, and then ask yourself whether that wouldn’t be the most 2018 thing to happen yet.