7:19am PT by Jackie Strause
'Saturday Night Live' Did Not Shy Away From Matt Lauer Jabs
Saturday Night Live was once again tasked with addressing news surrounding one of its own Saturday night. This time, fellow NBC star Matt Lauer.
The veteran NBC sketch show has been leaning on Weekend Update's Colin Josh and Michael Che to tackle the growing list of entertainment, media and political figures who have been accused of sexual harassment in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. On Oct. 14, two shows after the Weinstein story first broke, Che explained how the story puts comedians in a tough spot on SNL, since it's hard to make jokes about sexual assault. Since then, however, the sketch series has found its ways into tackling the sweeping stories as they come to light, taking on everyone from politician Roy Moore and former hosts Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. to former SNL writer and star Al Franken.
Saturday's episode delivered the show's loudest take yet on the national reckoning on sexual harassment with female anthem "Welcome to Hell," a music video from castmembers Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant, along with host Saoirse Ronan and co-star Leslie Jones. Set against a bubble gum pop background, the female castmembers spoke for women everywhere when they began their mantra singing, "We know the last couple months have been frickin' insane. All these big, cool, powerful guys are turning out to be, what's the word, habitual predators? Cat's out of the bag: Women get harassed all the time. And it's like, dang, is this the world now? Here's a little secret that every girl knows: This been the damn world. It's freaky, it's narsty, it's button-under-the-desk bad, but this is our hometown we'll show you around: Welcome to hell."
The intro callout to Lauer's button under the desk comes from a Variety report in which multiple staffers, all anonymous, detailed a pattern of decades of sexual harassment in the workplace with the longtime NBC News host, including how the former Today co-anchor reportedly had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his office door to prevent any unwanted interruptions. The New York Times later reported a claim from an anonymous accuser that Lauer sexually violated her in his office.
During the show's cold open, a not-so-thinly veiled Lauer jab came from castmember Alex Moffat when playing former Today host Billy Bush, who was fired from the NBC News show over the infamous Trump-Access Hollywood tape (Bush also penned an op-ed on the tape late Sunday night). "Can you believe I got fired just for listening to you?" Bush asked Alec Baldwin's President Trump when being visited by ghosts of his past. "I'm looking pretty good in the NBC news division right about now."
During Weekend Update, Jost joked about this week's "batch of predators" becoming a regular part of their newscast. Next to a graphic of Russell Simmons, Lauer and radio host Garrison Keillor — who have each been accused of sexual harassment or assault this week — Jost said, "It's just a whole segment of the news now. I just have to announce the names every week like Powerball numbers."
He then followed that up with a Lauer jab referencing his ousted Today co-anchor, Ann Curry: "On Wednesday the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was lit, and so was Ann Curry."
Che added of the allegations, "The former Today show host gave a female colleague a sex toy as a gift. Which is a bad thing? So I guess that means I should return the Secret Santa gift I got for Colin. It's double-sided."