Saturday Night Live cold open: Joe Biden recruits midterm ‘stars’

SNL, Saturday Night LiveThis week brought Amy Schumer is serving as the host of Saturday Night Liveand of course we imagined she’d bring a lot to the table. Yet, she wasn’t the focus of this week’s cold open: This time around, it was James Austin Johnson as Joe Biden.

Given that this is the final new episode of SNL before midterms, we’re not altogether surprised that the opening was super-political. However, it typically is even when there’s not an election coming around the corner.

For the first few minutes, we honestly had no idea where the sketch was going. Then, Biden ended up introducing some new, “flashy” celebrities to give the Democratic Party some stars. That included Kenan Thompson as Tracy Morgan plus a ridiculous version of Guy Fieri. Unfortunately, we’re not sure any of these 100% delivered.

The biggest issue with this cold open is that, once again, it was clear that the show doesn’t quite know what to do with Biden. They aren’t willing to dive into full ridiculous satire and the delivery isn’t strong enough for some of the jokes to really land. The biggest surprise was how low-energy a lot of this seemed to feel, and some of that may come down to irony. Remember that this show, much like their own claims about the Democratic Party, is in desperate need of some star power. A lot of these cast members just aren’t providing that at the moment. Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson are arguably the two biggest names left in terms of regular sketch performers, and it’s no surprise they were the best people in here.

Ultimately, it’s a good thing that Schumer is around to host tonight. She may be somewhat polarizing, but this is the precise venue where she is good, both as a standup and a sketch performer.

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What did you think about this week’s Saturday Night Live cold open?

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