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November 12, 2017

'SNL' features history-making host Tiffany Haddish, performances from Taylor Swift

The host took a small swipe at Kevin Hart, too.

Hollywood’s sexual assault allegations, Roy Moore’s statutory rape rumors, and the DNC all served as material in last night’s new episode of “Saturday Night Live,” featuring host Tiffany Haddish and musical guest Taylor Swift.

Saturday’s cold open, which lately is almost always a sketch starring Alec Baldwin as Trump, opted instead to feature Beck Bennett as Vice-President Mike Pence confronting politician Roy Moore (played by Mikey Day) after reports of Moore’s alleged sexual harassment and assault to minors. (Some speculate Baldwin was off this week to prepare for a PR storm of his own.)

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“It’s hard to convince people you’re not into young girls when you’re dressed like Woody from Toy Story,” Bennett-Pence says. Kate McKinnon unearths in her crowd-pleasing Jeff Sessions getup to tell Moore he is “too Alabama.”

Haddish’s opening monologue was a breath of fresh air after last week’s lack-luster, poorly received Larry David monologue. Haddish, who starred in hit summer movie “Girl’s Trip,” marked the first time in the show’s 43-season history that a black female stand-up comic has ever hosted, according to Deadline.

Haddish cracked jokes about her newfound wealth (or lack thereof), her childhood growing up in foster care, breaking the fashion taboo of wearing the same dress in public more than once, and all of the sexual assault allegations in the news.

“Speaking of men getting in trouble and stuff these past few months, I shot a movie with Kevin Hart this summer,” Haddish said, no doubt referring to reports of Hart's infidelity during his wife’s pregnancy.

Throughout the night Haddish’s characters included Boo Boo Jeffries, an out-of-place video game character whose attacks include the “Rihanna” and “Beyoncé,” and whose biggest strength is “my relationship with my Mom” and biggest weakness is “fighting.”

Haddish also played a unicorn -- a nod to her recent Showtime special where she referred to herself as the last Black unicorn -- alongside Leslie Jones.

During "Weekend Update," co-host Michael Che criticized President Donald Trump’s assertion that last week’s Texas church massacre was a mental health problem and not a gun control problem.

“Why can’t it be both? I mean, why can’t it be that because we have a mental health problem, we now have a gun situation? Just like because how my little cousin has a crack problem, my aunt now has a missing silverware situation.”

Co-host Colin Jost then went in on the sexual assault allegations flaring up newsfeeds, bringing out Cecily Strong as a frazzled “Claire from HR.” Later Haddish briefly returned to show off her monologue dress again.

The fake love story between Jones and Kyle Mooney got a reprise last night, this time to highlight Bennet’s sadness over losing his long friendship with Mooney to Jones. Chriss Redd played Jones’ and Mooney’s grown son, and Jost had a plot to help unravel the “relationship.”

Cast members poked fun at the Democratic National Committee after Tuesday’s election in a PSA featuring McKinnon as Nancy Pelosi, Strong as Diane Feinstein, and Larry David returning as Bernie Sanders’ following David's fallout from his concentration camp joke during last week’s episode.

Reading, PA-native Taylor Swift, fresh off the Nov. 10 release of her latest album “Reputation,” performed two songs during the show, including “...Ready for It?” and “Call It What You Want.”

"SNL" returns next week with host Chance the Rapper and musical guest Eminem.