Still, it’s SNL. So the show mocked them both.
“We now present a rebroadcast of those town halls, the way most Americans watched them — flipping back and forth, trying to decide between a Hallmark movie and an alien autopsy,” the voice-over concluded.
As for that “Hallmark movie”: Over the past three weeks, Jim Carrey has portrayed Biden as boring and cheesy, and the writers have really leaned into the “old” stereotype: He gets dizzy if he stands up too quickly and doesn’t even pretend to know what social media is all about.
“Our guest of honor tonight is former vice president and future oatmeal spokesman Joe Biden,” said Mikey Day as moderator George Stephanopoulos; he played the ABC anchor as increasingly exasperated as Biden wandered near the audience and showed off a new TikTok dance in a “How do you do, fellow kids?” moment.
“Okay, Joe. Let’s focus. Now, are you ready for softball questions from folks who are already voting for you?” Stephanopoulos said.
“You bet your short pants I am!” Biden exclaimed. “This is going to be exciting, George. I’ve given everybody in the audience a glass of warm milk and a blanket.” And then he proceeded to answer a question about covid-19 vaccines with a complex math problem.
The sketch jumped between Biden and Trump, but the Biden mockery was mainly about how he gave long answers. “If you want to find me after the town hall, we can talk some more,” Biden told one voter, who responded in disbelief, “Some more?!” Another time, Biden asked, “Does that answer your question?” and the voter said, “If I say yes, can I sit down?”
At one point, Carrey put on a Fred Rogers-style cardigan and started singing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” — a reference to a Trump campaign adviser’s tweet that said Biden’s town hall was like “an episode of Mister Rodgers Neighborhood.” Later, Carrey wore a Bob Ross wig — possibly a nod to Politico, which wrote that going back and forth between the two town halls was like “going from Bob Ross to Wrestlemania.”
SNL took that literally: They showed Stephanopoulos, bored at his town hall, tuning into Trump’s: The scene suddenly featured NBC moderator Savannah Guthrie ready to physically fight the president, as “WrestleMania” was emblazoned on the bottom of the screen: “Savannah is telling him there’s another question, but no, it was just a distraction! Savannah Guthrie has a folding chair! From the audience! And Trump doesn’t see it!” an announcer yelled.
Kate McKinnon played Guthrie, who earned many headlines for her tough questioning. “If you were angry at NBC for doing this town hall, let me get a few questions in and I think you’ll thank me,” Guthrie said at the beginning, turning to Alec Baldwin as Trump: “We have lots of voters to ask questions, but I’d like to start by tearing you a new one.”
Her questions: “Why won’t you condemn white supremacy?” “What about QAnon?” “What about the Aryan brotherhood?” “KKK?”
Trump, respectively: “I do condemn it. I’ve always more or less condemned it.” “You mean the group that thinks Democrats are a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles, and I’m their messiah? I don’t know anything about them at all.” “They’re very pro-family, that’s all I know.” “Your car breaks down, you call triple-K.”
In one of her most-quoted lines, Guthrie called out Trump for retweeting a false conspiracy theory about an Osama bin Laden body double: “You can’t just do things like that, you’re not someone’s crazy uncle,” she said.
“Really? Because this conversation we’re having is a preview of Thanksgiving at a lot of American households,” Trump said. “So crazy uncles, stand back and stand by.”
After Trump wouldn’t answer questions about when he got his last negative coronavirus test before his debate last month with Biden, some audience members got their chance in the spotlight: The woman who complimented Trump’s smile. The antiabortion millennial who asked about Roe v. Wade. As Trump answered that question, referring to his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, (“I didn’t tell Amy Conan O’Brien to vote any way on any issue. Some people say should be overturned and burned in a trash can, like antifa is burning all of my ballots because everyone knows the radical left are trying to steal this election.”), the “nodding woman” showed up, which drew an appearance from Maya Rudolph as Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala D. Harris.
“This is the last place I want to be. But somebody has to ask: What the hell is happening with that woman back there? Because I only nod that much when a waiter asks if I’ll be having mimosas at brunch,” Harris said. “I’m genuinely trying to understand what’s happening. Because if you’re not a plant, then I am deeply, deeply concerned for you, honey.” (It turns out that the woman who kept nodding along with the president is Mayra Joli, a Trump supporter who once ran for Congress.)
Eventually, this all led to the WrestleMania moment between Trump and Guthrie. Later in the SNL show, which was hosted by Issa Rae with musical guest Justin Bieber, Weekend Update co-anchor Michael Che made one final dig at the fact that NBC hosted Trump’s town hall in the first place — a move that got a lot of criticism, given that the network scheduled it at the same time as Biden’s town hall on ABC.
“NBC held a town hall event with President Trump, because what can I say? We have a type,” Che said. An image showed Trump, right next to pictures of Bill Cosby and Matt Lauer.