(VIBE) — Saturday Night Live touched on a global soft spot in its cold open this past weekend. SNL opened with host/performer Justin Timberlake impersonating Elton John at a memorial service for late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and “Timberlake mocks Hugo Chavez” soon became a trending topic. (The controversial leader died on March 5 from cancer, which the leader had blamed on the U.S., and Venezuela is currently in the middle of a seven-day period of national mourning.)
Timberlake took to the piano to perform John’s eulogistic “Candle in the Wind,” but changed the lyrics around. Whether it was Timberlake’s dead-on impression of John or the lyrics to Chavez’s version of the famous John song that stole the opening is debatable.
“I have to confess I didn’t know Hugo Chavez very well,” began Timberlake as John, “but as the saying goes, “Hey, a gig is a gig!’ I did a bit of research, and it turns out President Chavez was quite a complex man. So, here it goes. Everything in this song is true.” Timberlake then launched into a song pointing out the late leaders infamous quotes and headlines.