Jim Carrey was joined by Alec Baldwin and SNL alum Maya Rudolph, who reprised her role as Joe Biden’s vice presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris
“Saturday Night Live” returned to 30 Rockefeller Plaza this week to kick off its 46th season featuring host Chris Rock with musical guest Megan Thee Stallion. It was the show’s first live broadcast in over six months after filming from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. With a half year’s worth of content to recreate, the late-night sketch comedy series did not hold back for this highly anticipated season premiere.
The episode’s cold open began with a voice over promising a replay of the first presidential debate “even though Tuesday feels like 100 days ago.” Beck Bennett played moderator Chris Wallace, and Alec Baldwin returned to his recurring role as President Trump.
Walking out with a pair of Biden’s signature aviator sunglasses, Carrey copied the former vice president’s voice and mannerisms before he pulled out a tape measure to check the distance between the podiums and adjusted it few inches back. “You did take the COVID test you promised you’d take in advance,” Bennett’s Wallace asked before Baldwin’s Trump replied: “Absolutely, scout’s honor.”
Three days after the debate, Trump announced he and wife, First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.
Then, Baldwin’s Trump character started the debate by discussing the Supreme Court and the president’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett, whom he mistakenly called “Amy Christina Barcelona.” As Carrey’s character attempted to make his remarks, he was shortly interrupted — similar to the real-life debate. “No, don’t let your inner Whitey Bulger come out. Just flash them all that smile the taught you in anger management,” he said before trying to keep his cool.
Harry Styles also made a brief cameo as the voice of a meditation app for Biden while Cecily Strong mocked Kimberly Guilfoyle’s Republican National Convention speech in the thought bubble for Baldwin’s Trump.
On the topic of his taxes and masks, Baldwin’s Trump said, “The terms ‘law’ and ‘order’ are very vague terms, and rules are meant to be broken. It’s the same with masks. I’ve got mine right here in my pocket,” before pulling out a lace thong. “You don’t need one all the time. It’s like a seatbelt: You just wear it when you’re backing out of the driveway and then you can take it off.”
Elsewhere, SNL alum Maya Rudolph — who reprised her role of Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s vice-presidential candidate — interrupted the chaotic debate to intervene and play up “Momala” in comparison to the “fun aunt” persona previously seen on the show. “I think if there’s one thing we learned tonight, it’s that America needs a WAP: woman as president,” she said. “But for now I’ll settle for HVPIC – hot vice president in charge.”
After first teasing last month that Carrey had been tapped to play Biden for season 46, the NBC sketch show released a promo on Thursday, featuring the comedian getting into costume alongside Rudolph, 48. (The promo was released before President Donald Trump revealed his COVID-19 diagnosis.)
“Looks like you’re ready for the debate, Joe,” Bennett said.
“Absolutely not,” Carrey’s Biden said. “But I have the beginning of 46 fantastic ideas I may or may not have access to.”
Beginning with questions on the Supreme Court nomination, Bennett told Baldwin he had two minutes. “I’m gonna do 10, and I’d like to begin with a list of complaints,” Baldwin’s Trump said before rattling off the names of people who are mean to him.
When answering questions throughout the segment, Carrey’s Biden often began with “Now look, here’s the deal,” only to be interrupted by Trump or lose his train of thought. Carrey’s Biden also tried to exercise some self restraint throughout the sketch, reminding himself to “not to lose control.”
Maya Rudolph made a brief appearance, returning to her recurring role as Kamala Harris.
Opening up about the casting process earlier this year, SNL creator Lorne Michaels told the New York Times that “there was some interest” from Carrey about taking on the role.
“Then we responded, obviously, positively. But it came down to discussions about what the take was. He and Colin Jost had a bunch of talks. He and I as well. He will give the part energy and strength, and … hopefully it’s funny,” Michaels, 75, said.
Woody Harrelson, Jason Sudeikis, and John Mulaney have previously portrayed Biden in past seasons.
Rudolph — who has made a number of appearances on SNL since leaving the show in 2007 — first debuted her parody of Harris in a 2019 sketch. At this year’s Emmy Awards, Rudolph won the guest actress in a comedy award for her portrayal of the vice-presidential nominee.
Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT on NBC.