Saturday Night Live returned for its 46th season in front of a live — but limited, and masked — audience. In the premiere’s cold open, the show spoofed the most recent presidential debate in a sketch starring Jim Carrey as Democratic nominee Joe Biden and Alec Baldwin in his reprisal as Trump.
Carrey debuted his impersonation of Biden, stepping onto the stage wearing dark sunglasses and a grin. Woody Harrelson and former SNL castmember Jason Sudeikis have each portrayed Biden in previous seasons of the variety sketch series.
The cold open also tackled Trump’s recent COVID-19 diagnosis. Baldwin’s Trump took out his “mask,” which was just a pair of women’s underwear. Following Hope Hicks’ positive COVID-19 test, Trump was tested and found to be positive Thursday, along with first lady Melania Trump. Soon after, the president was transported to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for experimental treatment and observation.
Baldwin’s Trump mentioned Amy Coney Barrett, referring to her as “Amy Cristina Barcelona.” “Will you just shut up, man?” Carrey’s Biden said in a reference to an actual exclamation from Biden during the debate.
Maya Rudolph made an appearance, reprising her role as Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris. Baldwin’s Trump was asked to condemn white supremacy, and just like the real-life Trump, he refused to do so.
“The president of the United States is literally blowing a dog whistle,” Carrey’s Biden said. The cameras cut to Baldwin’s Trump blowing a literal whistle. At the end of the sketch, Carrey used a remote to pause Trump and asked to address the American people directly.
“America, look directly into my eyeballs,” said Carrey’s Biden. “You can trust me, because I believe in science and karma. Now just imagine science and karma could somehow team up to send us all a message about how dangerous this virus could be …” he then threw a pointed look to Trump. “This November, please get on the Biden train,” he continued. “And we can all work together to make America not literally on fire again.”
Toward the end of the sketch, Carrey’s Biden declared, “OK, I’ll unpause him,” pointing the remote control at Baldwin’s Trump to allow him to move and speak again.
While SNL aired special at-home episodes during the onset of COVID-19 at the end of season 45, the cast officially returned to Studio 8H for the premiere of season 46, and audience members have to follow a slew of safety protocols.