How rank is Jussie Smollett’s story? Rank enough that “Saturday Night Live” is actually attempting comedy. And kind of succeeding!
Yeah, I know, “SNL” has mostly devolved into “Orange Man be bad” kind of stuff, but “Shark Tank Legal Edition” may be one of the best sociopolitical sketches I’ve seen on the show in years. And keep in mind, I’ve laughed at some of the better George W. Bush sketches, although everyone kind of knew where the show was headed from there.
The premise of the sketch involves the basic “Shark Tank” premise of a business pitch delivered to a panel who then either passes on the pitch or bids for the idea. The panel, however, is made up of lawyers and the “pitches” are legal propositions.
As for the panel members, there’s “the porn lawyer who might just run for president,” Michael Avenatti. (“Sorry if I’m nervous,” Pete Davidson-as-Avenatti says. “I hate being on TV.”) Then there’s “Fox News banshee” Jeanine Pirro. (Look, it’s still “SNL.”)
And then there was “Alan Dershowitz,” who delivered a line I’m not quite sure even the writers knew the import of: “After I started defending Trump, nobody invited me to parties anymore. I wish I could go back to defending good people, like O.J. (Simpson).” Rudy Giuliani and Cellino and Barnes also made appearances.
Smollett was the second contestant on “Shark Tank Legal Edition” (after Robert Kraft, on there for reasons you might already imagine).
“Hey everyone, you won’t believe this but I was just attacked outside the studio by Donald Trump himself,” Chris Redd-as-Smollett said.
“Jussie, is that true?” John Mulaney-as-Dershowitz asked Smollett.
“Are there cameras outside?” Smollett responded.
“Yes,” Dershowitz said.
“Then no, it is not.”
Well, hey. Maybe the cameras were facing north. Avenatti then asked Smollett why he was there.
(A warning to our readers: the following video has some off-color jokes of a sexual nature.)
“I broke humanity?” he responded. “But if you take my case, I’m offering spoilers for the next season of ‘Empire.’ I die.”
Of course, there was the usual “SNL” commentary on Fox News in the person of Pirro: “A gay black man lying about an attack,” Cecily Strong’s version of the pundit wrote. “I wrote Fox News fan fiction about this but I never thought it would come true.”
“Jussie, you’ve got everything I love in a client. You’re famous. You’re probably guilty. End of list,” Dershowitz said.
It’s worth noting that the real Dershowitz actually suggested a biblical punishment for Smollett if found guilty: “You know in the Bible, if you falsely accuse somebody you get the penalty that the person would have gotten had the accusation been true, so if in fact these people had attacked him in this racist way and put a noose around his neck, they would have gotten some years in jail,” he told Fox News.
The sketch was good enough that it even prompted Michael Avenatti to try on a Trump impression:
Pete Davidson, whose dying mediocre career was saved by his terrible impersonation of me tonight on SNL, is a punk kid. Pete, it was agony for those who were forced to watch your ridiculous hairline. Bring back Steve Martin, funnier and a far greater talent! Sad!!!!!!!!
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) March 3, 2019
I’d say stick to the legal field but, well, he’s not doing so hot there these days either.
Either way, this is pretty much one of the better summations of everything wrong with the Smollett case. Salacious accusation that can’t be backed up by facts? Check. Story not really lining up with cameras? Check. Playing on the emotions and reputations of stars and politicians, thusly “breaking humanity?” Check.
If only they’d had him walk in with a totally undamaged Subway footlong — that would have been perfect.
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