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SNL spoofs Whitmer: 'Governors are kinda having a moment'

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

NBC's "Saturday Night Live" spoofed Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Saturday, with her drinking a Labatt Blue beer on her deck and telling protesters to get off her lawn. 

"Stay home," she says in the parody. "I promise you can call me a bitch from the safety of your couch. It's called Twitter." 

Whitmer, portrayed by actress Cecily Strong in a brunette wig, riffed on the thousands  who gathered in the streets around the Capitol in Lansing the week before last, including some who openly carried firearms, to demonstrate against her stay-home order during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The sketch did not air on the show Saturday, as it was cut for time. It's available as an online exclusive. 

The virus has killed more than 3,200 Michiganians, the third most of any U.S. state as of Saturday.

"Yeah, I'm nursing a Labatt's. Because even though most governors are laying down restrictions because of the virus, mine are some how too far," she says. 

"Look people. It's 'Live Free or Die,' not 'Live Free and Die.'" she adds. "And Trump adviser Stephen Moore comparing these protesters to Rosa Parks? Yeah. If Rosa Parks was fighting for her right to get hit by a bus.

"Sorry. It's the Labatt's talking."  

She offered the protesters a few "safety" tips for going outside, such as maintaining proper social distancing. 

"That means six feet apart at all times. So, if the tip of your AK-47 can touch the tip of your buddy's AK, back up," she says. 

"And please, wear face masks. But not a Joker mask, not a clown mask, and absolutely no masks that come with a hood." 

SNL's Cecily Strong portrays Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during a parody.

SNL's Whitmer acknowledges that many Americans might not have heard of her until the last month when she became a constant on cable television asking for help for Michigan and criticizing the federal government's response to the pandemic. 

“It might surprise you to be hearing from me — some smoke show Midwestern governor nobody heard about til a couple weeks ago. But governors are kinda having a moment right now," she says. 

"Other guvs get cool nicknames like 'Daddy Cuomo,' and Gavin 'Choke Me King Newsom,'" she adds. 

"Trump refers to me as 'That Woman From Michigan.' But I'm not offended because I am proud to be from Michigan. And 'That Woman' is also what Trump calls his wife." 

SNL's three-minute bit also gives a nod to Whitmer being a potential running mate for former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential bid. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has promised to select a woman for the job. 

"Like you, I have heard the 'rumors' that I'm on the short list to be Joe Biden's vice president. The VP's veep," she says. "Because if it's going to be a woman, it might as well be 'that woman.'

"But my sole priority is my home state. Because we're not out of the woods. We never will be. We live in Michigan," she adds. 

"And to anyone that stands in the way of the health and safety of my constituents, I'll remind you, the Michigan is a mitten." 

Strong, as Whitmer, holds up her hand to demonstrate the shape of the state. 

"And this is where I live," she says, turning her hand to give the middle finger to the camera.

The governor was amused by the SNL bit.

“It’s kinda funny,” Whitmer said Sunday on Fox 2 Detroit. 

“They got the beer wrong. It should have been a Michigan beer, not Labatt,” she added, holding up a bottle of Bell’s Two Hearted ale.  

“We love Canada but we drink Michigan beer.”

The governor's campaign sent out a fundraising appeal that linked to the skit Sunday.

"Did you catch “Gretchen’s” message on SNL, friend?" the email appeal says. "We can all use a good laugh right now, and Cecily Strong does an impressive Gretchen impression."

mburke@detroitnews.com