SNL finale teases Trump’s VP picks: a gun-toting Kristi Noem and the ‘late, great Hannibal Lecter’

’Finally, my last and favorite choice is a man I can’t stop talking about in my rallies. It’s the late great Hannibal Lecter,’ James Austin Johnson’s Donald Trump said in the cold open of SNL’s season finale

Katie Hawkinson
Sunday 19 May 2024 18:30 BST
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SNL teases Donald Trump’s vice presidential picks

Saturday Night Live kicked off its season finale this week with a skit teasing Donald Trump’s vice-presidential picks – including a gun-toting, dog-killing Kristi Noem and the “late, great” Hannibal Lecter.

James Austin Johnson reprised his role as the former president turned criminal defendant for Saturday night’s cold open, appearing outside Manhattan Criminal Court where Mr Trump’s hush money trial continues.

Throughout the criminal trial, MrTrump has taken to giving lengthy remarks to reporters outside the courthouse, railing against the charges and lashing out at his political rivals.

In recent days, a slew of MAGA Republican lawmakers – several of them believed to be vying to become Mr Trump’s running mate – have shown up at court to support him and act as “surrogates” hitting out at witnesses and the judge’s daughter in a bid to skirt the gag order placed on the former president.

“In my cage at the zoo, really enjoying these post-court press conferences in this very weird and depressing hallway,” Johnson’s Mr Trump said.

He then wheeled out the first vice president contender: Senator Tim Scott, played by Devon Walker.

James Austin Johnson (left) dressed as Donald Trump stands next to Devon Walker (right) dressed as Senator Tim Scott
James Austin Johnson (left) dressed as Donald Trump stands next to Devon Walker (right) dressed as Senator Tim Scott (Saturday Night Live)

“People have called my support of Trump humiliating,” Walker’s Mr Scott said.

“But trust me, I am my own man. When Donald Trump says ‘jump,’ I don’t say, ‘how high?’ I say, here’s a jump I was going to do anyway.”

The former president has previously praised Mr Scott for being an “unbelievable” surrogate — that is, someone who campaigns for a candidate while relying on their high-profile status to garner support. Mr Scott’s endorsement of Mr Trump came after quickly entering then dropping out of the 2024 presidential race.

Kristi Noem, played by Heidi Gardner, ran on screen moments later toting a stuffed dog and a gun – a reference to the South Dakota governor’s controversial confession that she shot dead her dog Cricket for being “untrainable” and “less than worthless.”

“Nobody move, or the puppy gets it,” she shouted, to laughter and applause from the audience.

“I’m kidding — it’s a fake dog but a real gun.”

Johnson’s Mr Trump responded: “Could be an interesting thing for VP because on one hand, she shot a dog which you really can’t do, don’t shoot dogs folks.

Heidi Gardner (left) dressed as Kristi Noem stands next to James Austin Johnson (right) dressed as Donald Trump. The skit poked fun at the recent revelation that Ms Noem shot and killed a puppy for its behaviour
Heidi Gardner (left) dressed as Kristi Noem stands next to James Austin Johnson (right) dressed as Donald Trump. The skit poked fun at the recent revelation that Ms Noem shot and killed a puppy for its behaviour (Saturday Night Live)

“On the other hand, she shot a dog which is pretty awesome too okay.”

The third vice presidential candidate was then rolled out on stage: “the late great Hannibal Lecter.”

“And finally, my last and favorite choice is a man I can’t stop talking about in my rallies. It’s the late great Hannibal Lecter,” Johnson’s Mr Trump said, as Michael Longfellow was wheeled out as the fictional Silence of the Lambs serial killer.

“There he is, I keep calling his late, great even though he’s not dead, he’s not great and he’s not real, but I think you’d really scare everybody at the border right?”

Last week, Mr Trump praised the fictional serial killer during a rally in New Jersey, hailing the cannibal murderer as “a wonderful man.”

“Silence of the Lambs! Has anyone ever seen Silence of the Lambs?” Mr Trump asked his supporters during a beachfront rally in Wildwood, New Jersey.

James Austin Johnson (left) stands dressed as Donald Trump next to Anthony Hopkins (right) dressed as Hannibal Lecter on a Saturday Night Live sketch mocking the former president’s vice presidential candidates
James Austin Johnson (left) stands dressed as Donald Trump next to Anthony Hopkins (right) dressed as Hannibal Lecter on a Saturday Night Live sketch mocking the former president’s vice presidential candidates (Saturday Night Live)

He continued: “The late, great Hannibal Lecter. He’s a wonderful man. He oftentimes would have a friend for dinner. Remember the last scene? ‘Excuse me, I’m about to have a friend for dinner,’ as this poor doctor walks by.”

“‘I’m about to have a friend for dinner.’ But Hannibal Lecter. Congratulations, the late, great Hannibal Lecter…”

The former president then immediately switched topics to immigration, leaving little explanation for his bizarre remarks.

The comedy skit also poked fun at Mr Trump’s reported dozing off in court at his criminal, as well as his Bible-selling endeavors.

Saturday’s cold open then closed out with an address by Mr Trump to the audience.

“Finally, just remember, if you’re tired about hearing all of my trials, all you got to do is vote for me and it’ll all go away,” he said.

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