It’s rare to see one character played by three different performers over a single season of Saturday Night Live. But in recent months, Woody Harrelson, Jason Sudeikis, and now John Mulaney have all taken turns in the role of former Vice President Joe Biden. And while celebrity impersonation isn’t really Mulaney’s strong suit, the former SNL writer and three-time guest host knocked it out of the park.
The night’s cold open took the form of a coronavirus press conference from Vice President Mike Pence (Beck Bennett) that quickly turned into a debate-style presidential candidate impression showcase. But before the 2020 hopefuls appeared, we were treated to Kenan Thompson as Ben Carson, “you know, the brain surgeon they put in charge of housing development,” who illustrated what the new virus looks like with help of a picture of Disney’s Stitch.
It wasn’t long before the likes of Elizabeth Warren (Kate McKinnon), Pete Buttigieg (Colin Jost), Bernie Sanders (returning guest Larry David) and Amy Klobuchar (SNL alum Rachel Dratch) began popping up. But, despite the fact that he looked and sounded nothing like the candidate, Mulaney’s Biden completely stole the show. He may not do impressions, but Mulaney knows how to play an old dude, and the monologue he delivered featured some of SNL‘s best political writing all season. “Now listen folks, if we want to fight China cough,” he began, “we’ve got to be smart.”
We’ve got to get new teeth daily. Now here’s an honest-to-goodness true story based loosely on fake events. The year was nineteen Rikki Tikki Tavi, and me and Nelson Mandela were palling around South Africa, Green Book-style. We have one elephant between us, and who do we run into but the Ebola monkey. And, weird story longer, I wrestled that sucker to mercy. Beep, bop, bip, that’s how I convinced Mandela that whitey was okay.
Check out the full cold open below.