Well, Saturday Night Live opted to become the embodiment of the “Why not both?” meme with this week. The most recent cold open for the show tackled the dueling town halls held earlier this week (in lieu of another debate because someone, and I’m not saying who, but someone decided not to cooperate) for President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Things got off to a fairly predictable start. The cold open set-up went like this: Framed as a re-broadcast of the town hall events and teased as “trying to decide between a Hallmark movie and an alien autopsy,” the audience “changed channels” between Biden’s (Jim Carrey) cogent, fact-filled town hall with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos (played by Mikey Day) and Trump’s whatever-the-hell-that-was with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie (played by Kate McKinnon). Both town halls played up the respective absurdities of Biden and Trump’s town halls, with Biden’s leaning into the extreme normalcy of the night and Trump’s just moving full pelt down the tracks like a runaway train.
The one big positive takeaway on this cold open is that it’s nice to see Carrey’s Biden impression improving drastically since the Season 46 premiere just two weeks ago. Carrey has reined in his take on Joe, and is getting eerily good at the Democratic candidate’s slightly raspy, assured vocal quality. The writers still know to give Carrey some raucous moments to play — like when he just walks off the stage making jokes about the Philadelphia Flyers at the top of the sketch — but, charmingly, are now allowing Carrey to just play a Biden that makes nice pleas to God on TV or sings the Mister Rogers Neighborhood theme song. It’s just as funny and far more interesting to watch.
As for Baldwin, he was reliably okay as Trump this week. It somehow felt weird and wrong to see Baldwin and McKinnon play up the apparent misogyny of Trump’s actual interactions with Guthrie earlier this week. Moments like Baldwin’s Trump negging a Latinx Miami resident (Melissa Villaseñor) and making a Jeffrey Epstein joke also made me feel a little too queasy. Oh, and, if we can find some actual work for Maya Rudolph to do playing Kamala Harris rather than just insert her last-minute into a sketch, that’d be swell.
Saturday Night Live Season 46 airs on NBC on Saturday night at 11/10c. Watch two town halls duke it out for laughs below. For more, check out our round-up of the best shows streaming on Peacock.
Allie Gemmill is the Weekend Contributing Editor for Collider. You can follow them on Twitter @_matineeidle.