Maya Rudolph was back on Saturday Night Live tonight, but not in her Emmy-winning role as Sen. Kamala Harris.
“It is the honor of a lifetime to moderate the second and praise Jesus final presidential debate,” said Rudolph at the top of SNL in the role of NBC News moderator Kristen Welker. “Tonight, we have a mute button, because it was that or tranquilizer darts and the president has a very high tolerance for those after his COVD treatment,” the SNL alum added with a deadpan delivery as the much-praised moderator of Thursday’s meet-up between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Then it was right into the candidates with Alec Baldwin and the uneven Jim Carrey back, respectively, as the former Celebrity Apprentice host and the former Veep.
Leaping into their hyperbolic versions of the real contenders (well, at least Biden, not so sure about Trump), the duo squared off with Carrey offering to do America a solid and “haul off and slap” Trump “in the mouth” to silence the Interrupter-in-Chief. “You think you are some type of tough guy,” countered Baldwin’s Trump with accusations of Biden getting bribes from China.
“What a nice question, thank you Hoda,” said the mock Trump to Rudolph’s Welker, confusing the NBC News White House correspondent for Today’s fourth-hour star. “No really you are taking really good care of us tonight, now could you tell us about the specials please,” he added, going to just creepy with no nice to paraphrase Rudolph.
Like the real POTUS debate of a few days ago, tonight’s SNL cold open was bordering on tepid, or at least much more restrained. “Just breathe Joe, or you’ll die,” said Carrey’s Biden to himself as Baldwin’s Trump spouted out mistruths of the administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Scripted mistruths that, truth be told, were at best paraphrases of what the incumbent actual said Thursday night.
As for Carrey’s Biden – well, Eastwooding it a little bit” (as in Clint Eastwood) and noting the ex-VP’s longtime Amtrak usage, he said, “I kick ass and I take trains. And I don’t see any trains.” He also dropped a “malarkey,” a fave expression of the septuagenarian Biden, which led to Rudolph’s Welker unveiling the “Biden Bingo” drinking game for viewers for every time the ex-VP used the term.
Then there was Kate McKinnon again playing Rudy Giuliani. In a nod to that very creepy scene in the new Borat sequel, the former NYC mayor was fiddling with a microphone. McKinnon’s Giuliani let loose with a tirade of accusations against Biden’s son Hunter — many of which the real Giuliani likely said variations of on Fox News in recent days.
Right after, Baldwin’s Trump explained to “Mindy, I love your project” Rudolph how he was the least racist person ever:
That is about as well as the race section could have gone. pic.twitter.com/37D33cxD5w
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) October 25, 2020
If the first three weeks of the SNL’s latest season was any clue, there was little doubt that Baldwin and Carrey would be back for the cold open tonight and that the final debate would be the heart of the skit – in fact Baldwin teased it on social media earlier:
Tonight on @nbcsnl … pic.twitter.com/rRuLhiCEgT
— HABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) October 25, 2020
Coming at the end of another whirlwind week in America with the election and record-breaking COVID-19 cases, tonight’s show comes mere hours after it was announced that Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short has tested positive for the virus. Scott’s boss has consistently posted negative results, unlike Trump, who had a positive test in the early days of October.
SNL is being hosted tonight by Adele and features H.E.R. as musical guest. Four weeks into its 45th season, the Lorne Michaels-run series is going for a six-week-straight run with a recently announced November 7 show right after the election.
There was some politics in Adele’s monologue tonight too as the multiple Grammy winner noted how her first appearance on SNL 12 years ago made her career in the U.S. That much-watched October 18, 2008 show saw then VP GOP nominee Sarah Palin on the show to comedically confront Tina Fey’s impersonation of the then-Alaska governor. “Sarah Palin, babes, thanks for everything,” Adele joked, but not entirely.
BTW -this all happened as the Los Angeles Dodgers unexpectedly lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 4 of the 2020 World Series. And that is no laughing matter. Watch the full sketch above.