James Austin Johnson returned as President Joe Biden on the Saturday Night Live cold open, this time as he meets in the Oval Office with advisers who give him the goods on Russia’s disinformation machine over Ukraine.
“Take a look at these posts that are circulating on Ukrainian Facebook,” Biden’s adviser (Alex Moffat) instructs the president.
Their examples are right out of The Onion: Ukrainian border encroaching on Russian troops. Russian Forces Surrounding Ukraine Just to Give It Big Hug. Ukrainian President Horny for Drama, Wants War: Slap Me Harder, Daddy.
“I’m going to break my New Year’s resolution and say it: Malarkey!” Biden responds.
Then they go on.
“They are also bringing our country into it,” another adviser (Ego Nwodim) tells him, before showing him more Facebook posts: American CDC Strongly Recommends Russia Invades Ukraine.
Then this: Neil Young To Remove Music From Spotify Unless Ukraine Surrenders.
“And then this one is unbelievable,” the adviser says, showing the Facebook post: Are you a Ukrainian woman in search of love? A hundred thousand troops are standing by to talk to you.
The skit follows a week in which the real-life White House grappled with the possibility of a war in Europe, as Russia has been amassing troops at the Ukrainian border. But as SNL has done in the recent past, it’s used the White House in crisis premise to also get in a few dings at other high-profile moments in pop culture over the past week.
At the outset of the sketch, SNL even managed a last-minute dig at a news story that was only a couple hours old: Reports that a certain famous football player was about to end his career.
“Mr. President, the situation in Ukraine is growing tenser by the hour,” his military adviser (Kenan Thompson) tells Biden. “Putin has amassed over 100,000 troops at the border.”
The another adviser caution the president, “We are even getting some reports that Russia has already invaded, but those are from the same people who said Tom Brady retired, so take it with a grain of salt.”
‘SNL’s Weekend Update Sees Peyton Manning Address Tom Brady Retirement Rumors, Gush Over ‘Emily In Paris’
Biden’s advisers also are concerned about Russian influence via TikTok videos, as they show him one from a Russian spy that features a Russian and Ukrainian soldier dancing.
“What the hell was that?” Biden says.
“Sir, it’s a video with 8.7 million views,” his adviser says.
“No, no, I mean what was that dancing?” Biden says. “The choreography wasn’t even crisp.”
Then they show the president a pro-Russia State Farm commercial saturating Ukrainian airwaves. In it, Aaron Rodgers (Pete Davidson) says his car has broken down in Ukraine. “Only one thing to do, like a good neighbor, Russia is there,” he says, in a play on the auto insurer’s slogan.
After watching the spot, Biden says, “So you are telling me Ukrainians are supposed to believe that’s the real Aaron Rodgers?”
Then his adviser tells him, “Apparently that is the real Aaron Rodgers. I guess he left the Packers to play for Russia.”
Then Biden asks, “So what can we do to fight back against all this propaganda?”
An adviser tells him their solution: “Fight fire with fire,” as she introduces a new defense secretary: Michaela (Chloe Fineman), a junior at a “vicious” girl’s high school.
She tells the president, “I think your generation can learn a lot from mine. Like, we don’t believe in drone strikes. We believe in breaking down our enemies psychologically. That’s why I am going to DM Putin and say, ‘Oh my god. I liked your outfit the other day. Was that Old Navy?’… Already he’s spiraling…In three weeks he will have completely lost his mind.”
“Have you done this before?” Biden asks.
Michaela responds, “Does the name Giuliani ring a bell?”
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