During the cold open on “Saturday Night Live,” Maya Rudolph took a break from playing Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), to portray NBC journalist Kristen Welker, who drew raves for her moderating skills during Thursday’s final presidential debate. When Jim Carrey-as-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the word “malarkey,” the moderator took out a glass.
“And we have our first ‘malarkey’!” she announced. “If you’re playing Biden bingo at home, take a shot.”
As easy as it was to joke about playing bingo during the debate, it’s equally simple to play it during SNL cold opens. Here are some of the predictable things that the show mocked:
The mute button
After the first disastrous debate last month, the Commission on Presidential Debates employed a mute button for each question to ensure that each candidate could talk for two minutes, uninterrupted. Of course, the show referred to President Trump’s frequent interruptions last time.
“Tonight we have a mute button because it was either that or tranquilizer darts, and the president has a very high tolerance for those after his covid treatment,” Welker explained.
“How does this mute button work?” Biden asked. “Do I just haul off and slap in the mouth?”
“No, Mr. Vice President, we’ll take care of that on our end,” Welker promised.
Trump’s comment about the military distributing a coronavirus vaccine
On Thursday, Trump said “the military is going to distribute the vaccine” with Operation Warp Speed. While mocking that, the SNL writers also worked in Trump’s tendencies to claim that people often cry in front of him: “That’s right, the army will come and shoot it with a cannon into your face,” Alec Baldwin-as-Trump said. “Look, I had it. It was very mean to me, but I beat it and now doctors say I can never die. And this virus said to me, ‘Sir, I have to leave your body.’' And the virus was crying. Very sad. It didn’t want to leave my body.”
Biden’s ‘Come ons’
Biden said, “Come on,” in response to Trump multiple times in real life, so you knew the writers would jump on that one.
“Look at me. Do I look remotely rich?” Biden asked when Trump mentioned “all the money you got from China.” “If I have money, where am I spending it? I live in Delaware. A night out is 28 dollars. Come on! I bought this suit on a train. Come on! If I had 3 million extra dollars, would I be taking the train to work? No! I’d be pulling up to the Capitol Dome with a candy red Trans Am and Kenny Loggins playing in the back — not a recording, the real Kenny Loggins. Can I get a ‘Come on’ ?”
Trump’s quote about how he was the ‘least racist person in the room’
Baldwin’s Trump quoted the president verbatim — and then continuously confused Welker with other women of color, including actress Mindy Kaling and “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi.
Biden’s inner monologue
For the past month, Carrey has played Biden as someone with a folksy exterior and an inner monologue that is ready to fight. This week, he had to physically restrain himself from taking a swing at Trump multiple times. At one point, as he glared, Welker called it “Eastwood-ing,” referencing the glowering actor.
Then Trump insulted his son Hunter. “Don’t do it, Joe,” Biden’s voice-over said. “Don’t retaliate, even though his kids are a bunch of charity-scamming write-offs.”
Trump playing down the coronavirus
At the actual debate, Trump said the United States is “rounding the turn” on the coronavirus, even as cases continue to increase as winter looms. So the show had to skewer that: “No, it’s not a wave,” Trump explained. “There’s been a tiny coronavirus spike in Florida and a teensy spike in Arizona. And a toonsy-woonsy one in North Dakota. But who cares? A lot of people don’t know this, but we have another Dakota somewhere.”
Kate McKinnon showing up as Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, was a given: This week, Sacha Baron Cohen’s new “Borat” sequel revealed a scene with Giuliani being duped by an actress playing Borat’s daughter, who pretended she was a journalist. After their interview, she invited him back to her hotel room, and Giuliani is seen lying down on a bed with his hand down his pants. (In tweets, Giuliani later said, “The Borat video is a complete fabrication. I was tucking in my shirt after taking off the recording equipment.”)
So McKinnon was back with her Giuliani impression. Trump insisted that they check with his lawyer if they wanted specifics about his health-care plan. The camera cut to Giuliani and implied that he was indulging in some … lewd behavior.
“What, huh? No, no, that’s not what it looks like,” Giuliani insisted. “Is this another Borat? You gotta tell me if it’s a Borat.”
“You’re in trouble now, Biden,” Trump said triumphantly. “Because Rudy’s got a lot of sane and coherent information that looks really bad for you, Joe.”