We’ve been waiting all year for the first Saturday Night Live cold open; with that, we had Joe Biden … but who was playing him?
Of course, we’ve seen SNL use a lot of different Bidens on the show over the years, whether it be Jim Carrey, Alex Moffat, or even Jason Sudeikis. This time around, though, it was James Austin Johnson, a brand-new cast member. What a shock! We wonder if this is one of the reasons he was hired in the first place: SNL always loves political sketches and this one had some things that were working for it. We do think that he has Biden’s delivery down, including his tendency to whisper random words and also obsess over trains. Of course, this is a first-time appearance and we think Johnson will get better from here.
Oh, and we should mention that he is already better than Carrey and also Woody Harrelson. Sudeikis is still our favorite Biden, but he’s a little busy being Ted Lasso. The other impressions did give us a few laughs, as well, but we’ll admit that we spent at least the first few minutes of this sketch desperately trying to figure out who the new Biden was. There was admittedly a second or two where we thought it was Owen Wilson, who was actually the host of the show.
In general, though, we think this would be a great trivia question: Who is the last first-time cast member to open a season premiere? Not only that, but get a chance to shout the trademark line? We will say that Johnson had a lot of fans before his first appearance, including a certain former SNL writer in Bob Odenkirk.
What did you think about the first Saturday Night Live cold open of the season, especially James Austin Johnson as Joe Biden?
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