This past weekend saw the revival of an old Saturday Night Live tradition: inviting a celebrity who has recently been through an embarrassing experience to come on in order to show they have a sense of humor about the incident and themselves.
This was a bit different, though. The celebrity in question was Alec Baldwin, the most prolific SNL host ever. He didn’t come on as himself, but playing a character – the pilot of the plane he was kicked off last week after refusing to stop playing a game on his cellphone. And interestingly, all he really did was acknowledge that he had been in the news. There was nothing in the way of an apology, or even an admission he might have been in the wrong.
Playing “Captain Steve Rogers” with a drawl and a Ron Swanson-style mustache that barely disguised his identity, Baldwin dropped into “Weekend Update” to issue an apology to … uh … himself, saying the actor is “an American treasure” who should have been allowed to keep playing his “word game for smart people.” The best part of the joke was that anchor Seth Meyers didn’t play along, muttering under his breath, “Alec, are you sure this is the right way to handle this?” while Baldwin dropped out of character to order him to keep going.
The audience loved the bit, certainly more than the average person loves those folks on airplanes who think they’re too important to obey requests from the crew.