Yes, Amazon’s two new headquarters are set to be in Queens and Northern Virginia, which happen to be Trump’s birthplace and a stone’s throw from the White House, respectively.
But the choice of locations had nothing to do with the president, Carell-as-Bezos said in an SNL sketch titled “Message From Jeff Bezos.”
“Sure, he attacked me repeatedly on Twitter,” he stated softly, as an upbeat melody played in the background. “But I chose our locations because they were ideal for growing business, not just to make Donald Trump think about how I’m literally 100 times richer than he is.”
He then deadpanned that Amazon “needed access to a young, educated workforce,” which was why a new satellite office was set up in Palm Beach, Fla., directly across from Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago estate.
Carell-as-Bezos also riffed on “his” 2013 purchase of The Washington Post. While (the real) Bezos owns the newspaper, which operates independently from Amazon, Trump has often conflated the two, leveling false attacks against both entities on Twitter.
On SNL, the fake Bezos couldn’t help but take a dig at Trump, opening a mock-up of the print version of The Post — literal fake news — that featured an unflattering photo of the president playing tennis.
“I also love our Style section,” Carell-as-Bezos announced, smiling.
Anyway, he continued, he wasn’t there to talk about Trump. He was there to unveil a new Amazon delivery option: “Amazon Caravan.”
He paused, before sneaking in a barb about Trump’s multiple business bankruptcies.
“Unless you order ‘The Art of the Deal.’ That costs more to ship, because it’s heavier,” Carell-as-Bezos said. “I guess it’s the only book with four Chapter Elevens.”
Several nonverbal digs at Trump also were sprinkled throughout the sketch, such as when “Bezos” walks past framed pictures of prominent figures, including Nintendo’s Toad. (This Style section reporter is not going to attempt to explain that reference in here, a family publication.) “Bezos” also showed off drones outfitted with “completely random” hairpieces that will look familiar.
It’s no surprise that SNL chose to skewer Trump, something the show has done weekly since the president took office. The decision to do it through “Bezos,” though, felt like more of a convergence of necessity: Carell as guest host, a slew of Trump jokes at the ready and an obligation to at least mention Amazon’s newsy week.
If anything, the sketch was a missed opportunity to level sharper criticism at Bezos and Amazon. The recent announcement that the retail behemoth had selected a region of Northern Virginia (curiously rebranded as “National Landing”) and Long Island City as its new headquarters locations sent up red flags in both communities, with critics arguing that the arrival of the twin headquarters could worsen income inequality, traffic and infrastructure problems, and other ills.
The SNL sketch barely scratched the surface of those controversies, though there was fleeting mention in the beginning that the headquarters announcement was not well received by everyone.
“Amazon just announced the location of its two new headquarters in New York and Virginia,” Carell-as-Bezos said. “And everyone — except for the people who live there and the people who live in all the places we didn’t choose — is thrilled!”