Alec Baldwin returns in his role as President Trump and Jim Carrey debuts his take on Joe Biden in Saturday Night Live’s cold open last night. Beck Bennet plays Chris Wallace. He plays the straight man to the two comedy giants squaring off.
Check out the video First Debate Cold Open – SNL.
There were some awkward moments in the bit. At one point Jim seems to be looking at the wrong camera. There was another time a visual gag wasn’t shown on camera.
Comedy, of course, is all about timing and you can see how making all the elements of a live show fit together can be a daunting task. Take into account the chaos that must have ensued when the writers and actors had to make last-minute changes due to Trump being the hospital due to COVID-19, any small gaffes are forgivable.
Maya Rudolph appears as Senator Kamala Harris towards the end to put some order to the lunacy. Was she necessary for the bit? If you were a comedian and only thought about the laughs per minute ratio, probably not. However, comedy works in part because it reaffirms tribal bonds (have you listened to the Hidden Brain podcast episode Laughter: The Best Medicine?). Kamala is part of our tribe and it would be a crime not to include her in this farcical melee.
All that being said, Jim Carrey eats up any scene he’s in. The camera loves that guy. Knowing he was going to be on, I rewatched a few old bits of his from the Wayan’s Brothers show In Living Color. Do you remember Fire Marshall Bill?
I could be seeing things, but I think I saw shades of the Fire Marshall in Joe Biden last night.