Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, reads an opening statement as he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Bill Hader's Jim Jordan pathetically attacks Ben Stiller's Michael Cohen in new "SNL" sketch

Bill Hader played Jim Jordan and Ben Stiller played Michael Cohen in a new "Saturday Night Live" sketch


Matthew Rozsa
March 3, 2019 7:00PM (UTC)

"Saturday Night Live" poked fun at the Republican Party's overblown and tenuous attacks on Michael Cohen during a memorable cold opening sketch starring Ben Stiller and Bill Hader.

With Stiller starring as former Donald Trump attorney Cohen and Hader depicting Ohio's ultra-conservative Republican congressman Jim Jordan, the sketch devoted most of its time to ridiculing Jordan's increasingly desperate attempts to protect Trump by discrediting Cohen. In his opening statement, Stiller's Cohen tells the House Oversight Committee that he is grateful to them "for inviting me here today to correct the record under oath. Of course, the first time I testified was also under oath. But this time, I like, really mean it."

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Hader's Jordan responds to the testimony by Stiller's Cohen with an angry tirade that, much like the real Jordan's remarks, had less to do with trying to find out the truth than undermining Cohen's credibility.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, and good afternoon to you, you lying piece of human trash! Mr. Chairman, you’re right that I’m angry. I’m angry that I have to sit here through this two-bit dirtbag flea circus. I’m so angry I couldn’t even wear a jacket today!" Hader's Jordan declares.

As the sketch progresses, a running joke emerges in which various Democrats give their time back to Jordan because his incoherent rants and habit of unintentionally implicating the president and/or Republican Party keeps making the pro-Trump side look bad. On one occasion, Hader's Jordan rants at Stiller's Cohen about "why are we supposed to believe you now? I mean, you lied about Trump being a good guy. You lied about Trump not committing any crimes. You lied about Trump not — damn it, I’m doing it again!"

The sketch also poked fun at Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., for singing "liar, liar, pants on fire" to Cohen during the hearing, as well as stumbling while he tried to insult the former lawyer as a "pathological liar." In the sketch, Gosar's language becomes increasingly slurred and difficult to comprehend, prompting a quip from Stiller's confused Cohen when he is asked if he understands what Gosar is saying.

"Honestly, not really. I'm having a lot of trouble understanding anything you're saying," Stiller's Cohen replies.

Another target of the sketch was Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who brought an African American employee of the White House named Lynne Patton to the Cohen hearing as a way of demonstrating that Trump is not a racist. With Alex Moffat as Meadows and Ego Nwodim as Patton, the sketch depicted Meadows as so oblivious that he mistook Patton for Omarosa Manigault, the former "Apprentice" contestant who worked for the Trump White House until being unceremoniously fired. In real life, Meadows was called out for seeming to use Patton as a prop by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., although they later hugged and reconciled, according to The Washington Post.

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The cold opening wasn't alone in mocking the world of politics on "Saturday Night Live." During the "Weekend Update" segment, co-anchor Colin Jost joked about how Trump's controversial speech at CPAC began with "Trump coming out and hugging the American flag like Lennie from 'Of Mice and Men.'"

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He added, What the hell was that? And then after that patriotic #MeToo moment, it somehow got crazy from there."


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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