The cold open skit spoofed Biden’s attempts to secure passage of his infrastructure and social agenda amid friction between the party’s moderate and progressive wings, with a momentary appearance by former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (Pete Davidson).
Johnson took over the role of Biden from Alex Moffat, who played the president for the second part of last season, succeeding Jim Carrey who did the impersonation for the final leg of the presidential campaign las fall.
Other SNL cast members and guests who have portrayed the former Vice President include Kevin Nealon, Jason Sudeikis, Woody Harrelson and John Mulaney.
Johnson’s Biden is at a lectern, imitating the president’s tendency to whisper to emphasize a special point.
He then introduces the moderate Democrats, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), played by Cecily Strong, who says, “What do I want from this bill? I’ll never tell. I didn’t come to Congress to make friends, and so far, mission accomplished.”
Biden responds, “Is it just me or does she look like all the characters from Scooby Doo at the same time?”
Then there is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), played by Aidy Bryant, who says, “I am a Democrat from West Virginia. If I vote for electric cars, they are going to kill me.”
On the left, Biden introduces members of the progressive caucus, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), played by Ego Nwodim, who says, “Thank you Joe, for not calling me Kamala.”
“For those of you who don’t know me, I was designed in a lab to give Tucker Carlson a heart attack,” she says.
There is also Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), played by Melissa Villaseñor, who says, “It’s me, the Cruella of the Met Gala. I wore the dress that said, ‘Tax the rich.’ Then spent all night partying with the rich. Oops.”
Biden then tries to get the two sides of negotiate, telling them that they are all on the same page and “we’re all saying the same damn thing.”
“That’s right, I’m saying we need at least $300 billion in clean energy tax credits,” AOC says.
Then Manchin replies, “And I’m saying zero.”
“See — same page,” Biden replies.
Then they go on. “There’s a lot of good stuff in this bill like 12 weeks of paid family leave,” Biden says.
“Six days,” Sinema replies.
“Six whole days of paid —” Biden says.
“Unpaid,” Manchin interjects.
“Unpaid six whole days,” Biden says.
“Nights,” Sinema says.
“Six nights of unpaid family half leave,” Biden says.
When Biden asks what the progressives want in return, AOC says, “What about a child tax credit?”
“Great idea, why don’t we say children don’t pay taxes,” the president responds. “It’s a lot of math.”
Then Manchin says, “If we give children too much leeway, how are we going to get them to work in the mines. We need their tiny hands to dig. All the big pieces are gone. We need kid fingers to gather the little pieces.”
The skit continued, with the progressive proposals met with opposition from the moderates, often for absurd reasons.
Roads? “I want no roads,” Sinema says. When Biden asks why, she says, “Chaos.”
When Biden brings up water, Manchin responds, “I don’t like the taste.”
Sinema also nixes lowering the cost of prescription drugs and raising taxes on billionaires.
Finally, an exasperated Biden asks Sinema the “just tell us … what do you like?”
She responds, “Yellow Starbursts. The film Polar Express. And when someone eats fish on an airplane.”
Then AOC asks, “Can’t we compromise on anything? Isn’t something better than nothing?”
Sinema replies, “Look, as a wine drinking, bisexual triathlete, I know what the average American wants. They want to be put on hold when they call 911. They want bridges that just stop, care falls down. They want water so thick you can eat it with a fork. And I will fight for that, no matter what. Unless my foot hurts, then I will go back to Arizona.” Sinema reportedly left D.C. on Friday, in the midst of the tense negotiations, to see a doctor having broken her foot during a marathon this past summer.
Biden then wants to bring up one more item: trains, his personal passion.
That’s when Cuomo comes in, and tells a frustrated Biden, “Democrats have had each other’s backs no matter what. We’re like one big Italian family. And you know what Italian families like to do? Hug and kiss and run their fingers up each other’s backs. So let’s all come together — whoop, bad choice of words there — and get this bill passed today. Just like me, it deserves a second chance…and a third chance… and up to at least 11 chances.”
Then Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), played by Moffat, appears, and says, “Next time you get an email from the Democratic party with a scary subject line like, ‘It’s all over Jennifer. Democracy is dead unless you donate $7 now. Don’t panic too much. As Democrats, we’re all in this together.”
“We’re sure are, because fundamentally, we’re all the same,” Biden says.
“Screw!” Cuomo responds, getting in the last word.
Check out the full sketch above.
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