Kate McKinnon’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to Saturday Night Live for the season 44 premiere, armed with a few of her signature “Gins-burns” and a lot of barbed comments aimed squarely at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, with a few left over for Senators Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake.
Weekend Update spent most of its time going after Kavanaugh — “if you took a shot for every time Kavanaugh lied about his yearbook, you’d be as drunk as Brett Kavanaugh was in the summer of ‘82,” Michael Che said — but McKinnon’s sketch was the funniest and most pointed. Asked what she thought of Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing by Weekend Update co-host Colin Jost, she cracked jokes about Kavanaugh’s and Graham’s “unhinged” performances (“and I know unhinged — you should see my joints, Colin”) and called Kavanaugh’s calendars from 1982 a “portrait of the judge as a young d-bag.”
Then she hauled out her own calendar for comparison: “You want to see my calendar from 1982? This ought to be fun. Turn 100. Break glass ceiling.”
Ginsburg’s calendar for 2018 had only one entry: DON’T DIE. “That’s it. That’s all I got to do,” she said. “I’ve been alive so long I’m restarting my life cycle, like cicada. I’m going through puberty again. I got all sorts of feelings about Riverdale.”
The real RBG went on record in January as a fan of McKinnon’s impression of her — an impression she only saw after the crew of RBG, the recent documentary about the justice, showed it to her. “I would like to say Gins-Burn! sometimes to my colleagues,” she said at an event promoting the film’s Sundance premiere in Park City, Utah.
RBG was a hit this summer, making more than $14 million at the box office — a sizable haul for a documentary. Along with biographical details and an exploration of Ginsburg’s status as an icon, it also features impressive footage of the tiny octogenarian doing push-ups and planks at the gym. And in one section, Ginsburg chuckles while watching McKinnon’s impression of her on SNL.
RBG isn’t the only film about Ginsburg this year: On the Basis of Sex, a biopic starring Felicity Jones as Ginsburg and Armie Hammer as her husband, is slated for release on Christmas Day.
On SNL, McKinnon’s Ginsburg wound down her appearance with a note of excitement about Kavanaugh potentially joining her on the bench: “We’re gonna be very welcoming. The guy likes drinking games so much we got one planned for him. It’s called quarters. It’s when me and Sotomayor put a roll of quarters in a sock and beat the hell out of him.”
But lest anyone take her too seriously, she came in with some signature self-deprecating humor: “I’m kidding. I’m kidding. I would never be able to lift a roll of quarters. That’s a self Gins-burn.”