The entire “White House” crew of “Saturday Night Live” gathered, one by one, around Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump at the piano for a soulful rendition of a last “Hallelujah” on the finale of one of the most memorable and politically charged seasons of the 42-year series.
At the lyric “I told the truth, I didn’t come to fool ya,” Baldwin took his hands from the piano keys but the piano continued to play. Kate McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway held up crossed fingers.
The cold-open “Hallejulah” was part of an episode that wrapped up a season of skewering the White House. It could have been a farewell to the besieged Trump administration — or it may have marked Baldwin’s last turn at playing the president.
Gathered around the piano were the Grim Reaper playing Steve Bannon, and Mikey Day and Alex Moffatt’s dopey Trump brothers. Cecily Strong turned up as first lady Melania Trump and Scarlett Johansson was back as daughter Ivanka in a gold lame gown from her March skit plugging her perfume Complicit (”a fragrance for the woman who could stop all this — but won’t”).
Beck Bennett was Vice President Mike Pence — instead of his usual Vladimir Putin — and Aidy Bryant stood in for Sarah Huckabee Sanders. (Putin was represented by the Russian flag pin on Baldwin’s lapel.)
The song came full circle from the “SNL” episode following the presidential election when McKinnon sadly sat at the same piano to sing the song to honor the late Leonard Cohen — and lament the electoral loss of Hillary Clinton. “I’m not giving up, and neither should you,” McKinnon told her audience then.
This time Baldwin wrapped up his “Hallelujah” and declared: “I’m not giving up because I didn’t do anything wrong… but I can’t speak for these people.”
The episode was bittersweet, as it remains unclear if Baldwin plans to return as Trump after this season. He has said the role was getting depressing because of the “maliciousness” of the administration, and worried that people won’t be amused much longer by the president. “If everything stays the same in the country… I don’t think people will be in the mood to laugh about it,” he said in March.
But he has since left the door slightly ajar to the possibility of returning. “Look, I’d love to keep doing this per my availability, but I have other things I’m going to do, so I guess we’ll figure it out,” Baldwin told The Hollywood Reporter last week.