With nine days to go until the 2020 presidential election, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are making their final pitch to voters. So is “Saturday Night Live.”
There is just one more episode of the comedy show to go before Election Day on Nov. 3 — and this week’s penultimate cold open parodying the last presidential debate didn’t change any minds. It was a wash.
The situation had been looking up. Oct. 17’s politics sketch, lampooning the dueling town halls, was a huge leap forward for Season 46’s election satire. The writing had edge — and clarity — and Jim Carrey had at last grown accustomed to his role like wearing in a pair of shoes. Unfortunately tonight the blisters came back.
Dead air. Flubbed lines. The physicality of an inflatable man outside of a car dealership. Carrey couldn’t get his act together.
“First, how does this mute button work? Do I just haul off and slap him in the mouth?,” the actor said. “SNL” has gone loco with the Angry Joe jokes, even though Biden has largely reined in that angst after he threatened to “beat the hell” out of Trump back in 2018. Voters have forgotten that zestier guy.
After one heated remark, the camera zoomed in on Carrey’s furrowed brow and the theme from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” played.
“Looks like Mr. Biden is so mad, he’s Eastwood-ing a little bit,” said moderator Kristen Welker, played by Maya Rudolph.
This whole Big Bad Biden bit has never worked, and it never will. If we were to play word associations with Americans, the first thought to pop into their heads when they imagined Biden would not be “Scary.”
Alec Baldwin’s Trump was the usual verbal gobbledygook of boasts and far-flung cultural references, with the voice and facial expressions of a sat-on whoopee cushion. He said “China” a lot. We get it.
The show continues to lean heavy on an easy gag in which Trump gets names wrong. He called Welker “Hoda” and “Padma.” “Thank you, Mindy. I love your project,” the actor said. It’s a joke “SNL” has used before with George W. Bush. It’s so old-hat, it should be worn by a pilgrim.
Baldwin’s one funny line was when he confused Welker for a waitress.
“You’re taking really good care of us tonight,” he said. “Could you tell us about the specials, please?”
In the end — thank goodness — Kate McKinnon showed up bald and facing away from the camera, furiously moving her arm up and down. She was Rudy Giuliani.
“No! It’s not what it looks like,” McKinnon’s Giuliani said. “My microphone was stuck — on my balls! Is this another Borat?!”
The actress wasn’t doing a cardboard impression. She captured the essence of the bizarre-looking New York eccentric who speaks solely in exclamations, and had a huge news week. Her “Nosferatu”-esque take on the former mayor is hysterical.
The trouble for “SNL” is that Rudy Giuliani is not running for president.
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