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Sunday, October 18, 2020

SNL takes on dueling Trump and Biden town halls in its cold open

Maya Rudolph, Alec Baldwin, Jim Carrey, and Kate McKinnon stand together dressed as Sen. Kamala Harris, President Donald Trump, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. All the “politicians” have on dark suits; Baldwin is pouting, Carrey smiling broadly. McKinnon, in a pink suit, shouts, her arms raised. Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

SNL joked the two town halls were like watching “a Hallmark movie and an alien autopsy.”

If the two town halls — one with President Donald Trump and one with Democratic nominee Joe Biden — on Thursday weren’t enough for you, October 17’s Saturday Night Live cold open reprised the action. And it threw in a Wrestlemania-style folding chair, as well as a bit of Bob Ross, for good measure.

The skit, called “Dueling Town Halls,” featured Mikey Day as ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and Kate McKinnon as NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, while Alec Baldwin and Jim Carrey reprised their roles as Trump and Biden.

“We now present a rebroadcast of those town halls the way most Americans watched them,” a narrator intoned before opening on Day as Stephanopoulous. “Flipping back and forth, trying to decide between a Hallmark movie and an alien autopsy.”

Day opened the skit by warning, “The vibe we’re going for tonight is ‘poorly attended college lecture,’” before an aviator-wearing Carrey appeared to make finger guns at the crowd.

After a rambling Carrey answer ended with a vaccine-related math problem and an entreaty to “please, show your work,” the skit flipped over to McKinnon, as she introduced herself as “surprise bad-ass Savannah Guthrie.”

“If you were angry at NBC for doing this town hall,” McKinnon says before teeing up questions about white supremacy and QAnon, “Just let me get a few questions in and I think you’ll thank me.”

Satirizing Trump’s refusal to fully condemn QAnon at the real debate, Baldwin rebuffed McKinnon’s questions about the conspiracy theory.

“You mean the group that thinks Democrats are a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles, and that I’m their messiah?” Baldwin tells McKinnon. “I don’t know anything about them at all, no.”

McKinnon responded by taking a line almost verbatim from the real-life Guthrie, telling Baldwin, “You can’t just do things like that, you’re not just someone’s crazy uncle.”

From there, the skit cut back and forth between the town halls, featuring Carrey talking to God and Baldwin holds forth on Judge “Amy Conan O’Brien.”

Maya Rudolph’s Kamala Harris also made a brief appearance to tell an enthusiastically nodding Black woman in the background of Baldwin’s answer on Roe v. Wade — in reality, a onetime pro-Trump congressional candidate named Mayra Joli — that “I only nod that much when a waiter asks if I’ll be having mimosas at brunch.”

Poking fun at senior Trump adviser Mercedes Schlapp’s characterization of Biden’s town hall — which in reality was a staid, wonky affair — as “an episode of Mister Rodgers Neighborhood [sic],” when the skit turns back to Carrey, he begins singing “Won’t you be my neighbor?” while donning a cardigan. His next appearance is as painter Bob Ross in front of an easel with a nature scene.

McKinnon’s next appearance in the skit, on the other hand, featured her distracting Baldwin before leveling him with a folding chair to the face.

As the town halls wrap up, soaring music swells: “We have to restore sanity to the nation,” Carrey said. “If elected, I promise I won’t tweet once — because I don’t know how.”

Baldwin, meanwhile, abandoned his closing pitch to voters.

“All right then, just try and take me alive!” he yells as the rest of the cast rushes in to start the show.

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