Brow Beat

Saturday Night Live Debuts a New Joe Biden

Alex Moffat as Joe Biden, and Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris, in a still from SNL.
“This never happened to the other fellow.” NBC

It’s been one of the darkest, most disturbing and disheartening eras in American history, a period when every single week we were presented with new reasons to distrust our neighbors, new proofs of humanity’s selfishness and depravity, and new examples of the rotten fruits of our culture of failure and death. But America has faced tougher challenges and triumphed before, and this week, the clouds parted, the fever broke, and the dove returned, at last, with an olive leaf. That’s right: Alex Moffat, a regular old Saturday Night Live cast member, has replaced Jim Carrey in the role of president-elect Joe Biden:

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The first three minutes of this sketch are the same tired “Mike Pence is secretly gay” schtick that has been the most embarrassing part of Saturday Night Live’s response to the Trump administration for years. The last two minutes are Kate McKinnon and Keenan Thompson as Rudy Giuliani and Ben Carson respectively, standard cold open operating procedure. Those sixty seconds in the middle, though, where SNL needed someone to play a significant political figure, and instead of stunt-casting Howie Mandel or whatever, turned to a comedian who’s been part of the show for four years? Birds suddenly appearing, music and wonderful roses, Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46, I. (Morganstemning), and so on. It scarcely matters that, after Willy Wonka-ing his way onscreen, Moffat’s Joe Biden was middle-of-the-pack when compared to SNL Bidens past like Jason Sudeikis and Woody Harrelson. Any effort to turn Saturday Night Live from “the show where A-listers preside over embarrassing national therapy sessions” back into “the show where a weird group of weird comedians gives their takes on the week’s events” is a hopeful sign. As for Jim Carrey, he stepped down from his position earlier on Saturday:

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And with that, a troubled nation can finally begin to heal.

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