Due to a reliance on Alec Baldwin/Donald Trump sketches that feel more perfunctory than funny, SNL has had a rough time with their cold opens this year. And a good amount of last year too. It’s a part of the show we tend to just sit through, hoping for better things down the line.
Last night’s James Franco episode tried something different, however. Instead of Trump regurgitation jokes we’ve already read on Twitter, this cold open simply presented a string of children asking difficult 2017 political questions to a poor mall Santa. Check it out:
It’s not the episode’s funniest sketch (that honor goes to the Spelling Bee bit), but it’s a nice way to take account of the way 2017 has driven us all crazy, even innocent children who should normally just want presents but instead feel compelled to ask Santa what Al Franken did. SNL’s having a rough time lately, quality-wise, but the current iteration excels at these rapid fire, one-after-another joke sketches, so the structure suits it. Plus, the sketch was a break from normal cold opens that offers a little solidarity to those who watched 2017 go by with a look of constant horror on their face.