Last season, Saturday Night Live navigated its way through the transition from Trump to Biden, first by miscasting Jim Carrey opposite Alec Baldwin, then by letting actual cast member Alex Moffat take on the presidential role and then by sidelining Biden altogether in favor of Maya Rudolph’s Kamala Harris.
So how did the iconic show open its 47th season this week? With one of its brand new cast members, James Austin Johnson as the 46th president.
Turns out Johnson, who before joining SNL was best known for his expert Trump impression, does a pretty solid Biden as well!
He was joined by an array of warring Democrats, including Aidy Bryant’s Joe Manchin, Ego Nwodim’s Ilhan Omar and Melissa Villaseñor’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“How’s everybody doing? What’s cookin’? What’s good?” Johnson said at the top of the cold open, nailing Biden’s cadence off the bat. “How was everybody’s summer? Mine was bad! Not Cuomo bad, but definitely not Afghanistan good. Everybody keeps razzing me about that drone strike, but on the bright side I went the entire summer without falling down once.”
As SNL’s new Biden tried and failed to corral the centrist and progressive Democrats, the only one who could one-up him was Cecily Strong’s Kyrsten Sinema, who perfectly captured the Arizona senator’s most challenging qualities.
“What do I want from this bill? I’ll never tell,” she said. “Because I didn’t come to Congress to make friends. And so far, mission accomplished.”
Later, she added, “Look, as a wine-drinking, bisexual triathlete, I know what the average American wants. They want to be put on hold when they call 9-1-1, they want bridges that just stop and car falls down. They want water so thick you can eat it with a fork. And I will fight for that no matter what. Unless my foot hurts, then I’ve got to go back to Arizona.”
By the end of the sketch, Pete Davidson’s Andrew Cuomo got the last word after Johnson’s Biden insisted that “fundamentally,” Democrats are all the same: “Screwed.”
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