‘SNL’ Cold Open Phones in Parody of the Week’s News With James Austin Johnson’s Trump in Court | Video

“Saturday Night Live” took more than a month off between the Dec. 16, 2023 Christmas episode and the first episode of 2024 (which aired tonight, Jan. 20). That was a lot of time to come back with some new material roasting the myriad things that have happened since the hiatus began.

Anyway, the first cold open of 2024 was a by-the-numbers rundown of recent Donald Trump news filtered through James Austin Johnson’s Trump impression.

The sketch was a combo-parody of the disturbing behavior the real Donald Trump exhibited in court this week, and things Trump has said in his political speeches since winning the Iowa caucuses. Basically, if you skimmed headlines this week, you know what’s coming.

It started with Chloe Fineman as Trump’s lawyer in his court appearance this week (for the new E. Jean Carroll defamation trial). And then Johnson came out and did his very accurate, but politically toothless Trump impression.

Johnson’s Trump declared he had “maybe the worst lawyer I’ve ever had, which is quite a statement, and this is the bottom of the barrel. Yes. I’m in the lead for president and this is the best I can get. Feels like a red flag, though.”

He turned to the group of lawyers assembled around him, saying, “You’re not getting paid, by the way. You know that? Of course you do.” This was a reference to Trump’s famous refusal to pay the people he hires.

Other highlights:

  • Johnson’s Trump said, “We will be abiding by this horrible gag order. So I will not be saying that the judge is an idiot.”

  • Johnson’s Trump wanted to “congratulate [Ron] DeSantis on a truly embarrassing showing.”

  • Johnson’s Trump parodying the real guy’s weird statements this week about his 2020 cognitive test, saying, “cognitively doing the cognitive, I’m more passionate if the doctor says you have to be at the top 99% of all the concussion and dementia people who did this.”

  • Johnson’s Trump saying, “I am sent by God and God has a plan for me or whatever,” and concluding, “I’m either going to jail, be president, or frankly the Purge.”

Watch part of the cold open below:

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