Saturday Night Live’s cold opens have largely followed a formula for the past few years — tackling a big political story of the week and featuring a lot of A-list cameos. Tonight, SNL stayed political in the cold open with Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump but did not feature cameos besides a brief appearance by host Will Ferrell as U.S. ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland.
However, a second political sketch during the show, a parody of the most recent Democratic Presidential debate on MSNBC, featured plenty of guest appearances: Larry David as Bernie Sanders, Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris, Woody Harrelson, Fred Armisen as Michael Bloomberg and Rachel Dratch as Amy Klobuchar. With host Ferrell taking on Presidential candidate Tom Steyer, we had three SNL alums together on stage (fellow former cast member Tracy Morgan appeared in Ferrell’s monologue.)
The debate skit was a followup to the CNN Impeachment Town Hall sketch from September, with David, Rudolph, Harrelson and SNL cast members Kate McKinnon as Elizabeth Warren, Colin Jost as Pete Buttigieg, Chris Redd as Cory Booker, and Bowen Yang as Andrew Yang all reprising their roles.
Cecily Strong this time was Tulsi Gabbard, “the night’s (Cruella de Vil-esque) villain”, as she put it, while Melissa Villaseñor played moderator Rachel Maddow.
“I know in past debates I was accused of being over-ambitious,” McKinnon’s Warren said. “I’ve got Mom hosting Thanksgiving energy: I’m a little overwhelmed because I thought 10 people were coming and now there’s 30 million. But I promise dinner will be ready if you just get out of the kitchen and stop asking questions.”
Rudolph’s Harris brought back the “funt” nickname she coined for herself at the Town Hall and came up with a new one… to a lesser degree of success. “The funt is back: America’s fun aunt. I’m also America’s cool aunt: the cah — you know what, let’s not do that.” She declared that she was “not going to worry about the polling numbers.” “I’m just going to have fun and see if I can get some viral moments. Mama needs a GIF. Gonna tell my kids this was Michelle Obama.”
Harrelson’s Biden also brought back his “I see you” catch phrase from the Town Hall and elaborated on it. “And I see the faces you all make when I talk; you’re scared — scared I’ll say something off-color or even worse, on-color. What I want you to know is you should be scared because I’m always one second away from calling Cory Booker Barack.”
David’s Sanders referenced his recent heart attack. “Doctors were surprised I made it,” he said. “And I’m very proud of the fact that I was the first heart attack patient to show up to the emergency room in a city bus.” He later jumped on a healthcare question with a vintage Larry David bit.
Dratch’s Klobuchar kept focusing on her “signature quivering bang” and tried to explain how she is funding her campaign, while Jost’s Buttigieg addressed his lack of support from black voters.
Armisen’s Bloomberg crashed the debate, slurping on a drink. He still wouldn’t confirm if he was officially running for president, saying, “Maybe, maybe not. I’d be hard to beat. I’d love to see those Trump supporters come up with a conspiracy theory about a Jewish billionaire with his own media company. Good luck making that stick.” UPDATE: Just hours after the skit aired, the real Bloomberg on Sunday morning announced that he will be launching a presidential campaign.
Watch the full sketch above.