SNL: Robert DeNiro shows up as Mueller and grills Ben Stiller’s Cohen, ‘Meet the Parents’-style
“Saturday Night Live” brought in a truly unexpected duo to skewer the latest in Trump World news: Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro.
The sketch would eventually become a parody of the actors’ 2000 movie “Meet the Parents.” But first, Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Kate McKinnon) and Vice President Pence (Beck Bennett) gab about the raid on the office of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer.
“I feel like I say this every week, but this week was bad,” the fake Sessions says.
“In a couple of months the president will be back to normal,” the fake Pence assures.
“How’s that?” the Sessions character asks.
“Because it’ll be me,” SNL’s Pence says.
Then in walks Stiller, playing Cohen. “That’s right, it’s Michael Cohen, attorney at law. And also sometimes not at law,” he announces. “Can you believe what they’re doing to poor Mr. Trump? It’s a disgrace! This whole raid was a complete violation of attorney-criminal privilege.”
“Look we got a real problem here, Jeff,” Stiller continues. “Do you know how much evidence I have in my office? I’m Donald Trump’s lawyer. I’ve got a whole hard drive that’s just labeled, ‘Yikes!’”
Eventually the two fake Trump administration officials instruct Stiller’s Cohen to walk down the hall because there’s someone who wants to speak with him. And then he’s met by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, played by Robert DeNiro in makeup so heavy that’s difficult to discern who it was underneath. (Perhaps a benefit of having a non-cast member play Mueller? Go nuts with the makeup, since there’s no other sketch to hurry up and get ready for.)
But as soon as DeNiro opens his mouth, his identity becomes clear.
“Looking for something, Mr. Cohen?” he asks, in the same way as in “Meet the Parents” when his character subjects Stiller’s to a lie-detector test.
And, just like in movie, DeNiro’s character forces Stiller’s to take a polygraph.
“If you’re innocent, you have nothing to worry about,” DeNiro’s Mueller says. He starts off with: “How’d you like that pee-pee tape? I’m kidding! Relax. We’ll get to that later.”
He goes into easy questions but later thinks Stiller’s Cohen is lying when the lawyer says Trump didn’t know about a payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels.
“It was supposed to be a surprise for Stormy,” Stiller’s Cohen tries to explain. “A gift, like a rock thrown through a window with a note tied to it that says, ‘Stop talking.’”
When DeNiro’s Mueller asks if Cohen threatened people, he says: “Let’s just say I’ve cut a lot of letters out of a lot of magazines … I’m just trying to milk some information out of people, so what?”
“Did you say milk?” DeNiro’s character says.
Cue another “Meet the Parents” scene line.
“Yeah, like with cow, or a goat … or a cat,” Stiller says in the sketch. “I mean, you can milk anything with nipples.”
“Really? I have nipples,” DeNiro says. “Can you milk me, Mr. Cohen?”
DeNiro plays Jack Byrnes in the 2000 movie, which ended up spawning two more movies: “Meet the Fockers” and “Little Fockers.”
At the end of the SNL sketch, DeNiro’s Mueller says to the fake Cohen: “Now you listen to me, you little weasel. I don’t know what rights you think you have, but you broke the law, and now we’re gonna catch all you little Fockers,” referencing the movies. “You got that?”
SNL has been regularly bringing in a lot of big-name, outside talent to portray political world figures during the Trump era. There’s Trump himself, played regularly by Alec Baldwin. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been played by John Goodman, and Fred Armisen has portrayed author Michael Wolff.
The show has even portrayed Mueller repeatedly before. McKinnon has played the special counsel, including during an opening sketch sending-up the disastrous “Bachelor” finale.
But this week, McKinnon already had her hands full playing Sessions.