Kellyanne Conway 'Couchgate' controversy parodied by Saturday Night Live

Matt Broomfield
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway takes a photo as US President Donald Trump and leaders of historically black universities and colleges talk before a group photo in the Oval Office of the White House: Getty Images

Saturday Night Live has satirised top Donald Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, replicating the viral photo in which she appeared to sit shoeless on an Oval Office sofa looking at her phone while President Trump met with the leaders of historically black colleges.

It has since emerged that Ms Conway had only been perching on the furniture to take a photograph of the group, leading critics to label the controversy a distraction from more serious concerns.

These include her use of the phrase "alternative facts" to defend false claims made by Press Secretary Sean Spicer over crowd size at President Trump's inauguration, her fabrication of the "Bowling Green Massacre" to justify a ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries, and a TV appearance where she promoted Ivanka Trump's commercial interests.

But that didn't stop SNL from mocking the feet-on-the-couch photo. In three separate tableaux, actor Kate McKinnon appeared silently kneeling and texting on her phone as sketches played out around her.

She appeared on the floor, on a newsdesk and in front of a piano used in a closing performance by singer-songwriter Father John Misty.

In an opening sketch, Ms McKinnon also took on the role of embattled attorney general Jeff Sessions, playing him as a parody of the loveable film character Forrest Gump, who has a learning disability.

She showed off the photo of the real Ms Conway on the Oval Office couch, saying: "This is my best good friend, Kellyanne. She ain't got no legs". It was a reference to double amputee Bubba, Forrest Gump's best friend in the film which bears his name.

"They say she could sell stink to a skunk," the fake Sessions continued. "But they don't let her talk anymore. I miss you Kelly."

Mr Sessions has been accused of historic racism, abuse of his prosecuting power to target Democrats and lying under oath about his contact with Russian politicians. He has consistently denied the allegations and the Justice Department says there was "nothing misleading" in his answers to the Senate.

The opening skit saw him repeatedly contradict himself, cosy up to a shirtless Vladimir Putin and refer to the racism allegations by saying "life is like a box of chocolates... sure are a lot of brown ones in there."

The late-night sketch and variety show has previously lampooned Ms Conway by depicting her first as a self-centred, power-hungry Broadway starlet, and then as a psychotic ex-lover jilted by a cable news host.

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