With this somber but brilliant cold open to Saturday Night Live last night, Kate McKinnon (as Hillary Clinton, of course) skipped the jokes and went straight for the gut with this elegiac performance that was both a tribute to Leonard Cohen, who passed away two days ago, and catharsis –at least partly and at least for some of us– as we’re still trying to grasp the realization that a Donald Trump presidency isn’t something that will be relegated to a mythical parallel universe.
Over the top?
Probably, but moving too when Cohen’s lyrics work so brutally well as an honest campaign post-mortem slash concession speech delivered with a hauntingly beautiful melody.
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
McKinnon’s parting words, in character: “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.”
Events this week conspired to make this perhaps the most surreal open the show has ever given us — and that’s coming from someone who’s watched SNL from its inception in 1975. We’re entering odd times.