‘SNL’ views Kyle Rittenhouse verdict through red-state lenses

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“Saturday Night Live” tried to see the not guilty verdicts in the homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse through the eyes of red-state America.

The show turned to Fox News’ “Justice With Judge Jeanine” to help. Host Jeanine Pirro, played by Cecily Strong, focused on Kenosha, Wisconsin, as the “top story.” Rittenhouse, 18, was found not guilty Friday on all charges related to fatally shooting two men and wounding a third during protests in the city last year.

His lawyers have argued Rittenhouse was defending himself from attackers after he went to Wisconsin in an effort to protect businesses and provide medical assistance amid August 2020 demonstrations and unrest over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white officer.

“That lovable scamp was put through a nightmare of a trial just for doing the bravest thing any American can do —protecting an empty used car lot in someone else’s town,” Pirro said.

Mikey Day as Judge Bruce Schroeder, who presided over Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial, appears in the opening of ‘Saturday Night Live’ on Nov. 20, 2021.NBC

She introduced Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Schroeder, who made headlines during proceedings by forbidding the use of the word “victim” to describe decedents Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and survivor Gaige Grosskreutz. He also continued his roughly 20-year custom of allowing the defendant to choose 12 jurors through a blind and random drawing.

Schroeder, played by Mikey Day, defended his management of a trial that was watched by some as a barometer of race and privilege.

“It was all standard procedure,” Schroeder said. “That’s why I ordered the prosecution not to use the word victims. They were rioters.”

The judge insisted his rules and rulings “did not give my client an unfair advantage in any way.”

Pirro brought in Sandra Cummings (Chloe Fineman), described as an NPR legal analyst, and Howard University professor of law Samuel Fields (Chris Redd) for some fairness and balance, but the guests seemed to have different opinions.

“This is not who we are,” said Cummings, who is white.

The verdict, she argued, sends a message that “any American can just prowl the streets with an AK-47.”

Fields, who is Black, responded, “Any American? I think you’re missing a key word there.”

Cummings continued, undeterred. “I was shocked,” she said.

“You were?” the professor said, “Because I wasn’t.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” the legal analyst said.

“I have, many many times,” Fields said.

The show’s James Austin Johnson reprised his well-received impression of former President Donald Trump, who was introduced by Pirro as “this people’s sexiest man alive.”

Trump meandered, emphasizing 2024 election goals while also commenting on popular culture.

“We’re coming back in 2024,” he said. “We’re doing the reboot, OK?”

A few beats later he asked, “Why did they reboot ‘Gossip Girl?'”

“Weekend Update” had no good news for President Joe Biden, despite a week that included his signing of a hard-fought $555 billion infrastructure bill.

“Yesterday was a weird one for President Biden,” co-host Colin Jost said.

The day included the Rittenhouse verdict and the first time in United States history a woman served as acting president. Biden, who turned 79 on Saturday, went under anesthesia for a colonoscopy, and temporarily transferred power to Vice President Kamala Harris.

“You can’t drop all that [news] on him the second he comes out of the gas,” Jost said.

Simu Liu hosted and Saweetie was the night’s musical guest.

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