Saturday Night Live cold open: Joe Biden, Spider-Man press conference

SNLNot only was tonight the first Saturday Night Live episode of 2022, but it’s also the first “normal” cold open in a while. Remember that the Paul Rudd episode was thrown massively off-course by an outbreak that caused most of the sketches to be scrapped at the last minute.

With that, tonight’s Ariana DeBose episode was a chance to return a little bit more to normalcy. So what did the show opt to do? Well, they went in a pretty predictable route: A speech from President Joe Biden, played by James Austin Johnson. What was the whole premise here? That the new spread of the virus was solely due to everyone watching Spider-Man: No Way Home in the theaters. No doubt the movie was extremely successful, but the show chose to make a meal out of how many people went to see it!

Was this the right way to start off the show after a long hiatus? Well, we’re a little confused by it. For starters, Johnson’s Biden isn’t anywhere near as strong as his Trump; yet, Biden is a much harder person to impersonate. The one saving grace with this was just how weird the sketch got. At one point, Biden went on a riff about how there are different versions of himself in the multiverse.

Also, Pete Davidson showed up as the “real Joe Biden” from a different universe, Apparently, in that universe everyone is better off except for Pete Davidson — who, to the surprise of no one, is better off in this alternate one.

This entire sketch felt like the writers just goofing off and while it was never roll-on-the-floor funny, it ended up being so much stronger than we thought it was going to be in the early going. Sometimes, it’s nice to be pleasantly surprised with how the show can evolve on what felt like a silly joke.

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