They may not know who will win Iowa, but the key Democratic candidates at least got some signals this weekend on another burning question: Who will play them on “Saturday Night Live”?
The North Shore’s Alex Moffatt is Beto O’Rourke. Naperville’s Chris Redd is Cory Booker. Newcomer Bowen Yang plays his namesake Andrew Yang, just as the candidate wanted.
But the picture’s muddier when it comes to the top tier, handled largely by ringers this week. For Joe Biden, the front-runner for most of the cycle so far, “SNL” cast the guest host of this week’s season premiere, Woody Harrelson, and outfitted him with overpoweringly gleaming teeth.
“I’m like plastic straws,” Harrelson said as Biden. “I’ve been around forever, I’ve always worked, but now you’re mad at me?”
As we’ll surely be seeing a lot of Biden throughout the season, “SNL” nerds (and the Biden campaign) are left to wonder: Will the busy movie star be returning for the role in future episodes? Will “SNL” reach back to Jason Sudeikis, as it continued to do for Biden bits well after the actor left the show? Or will someone on the current cast eventually get the gig? Perhaps Pete Davidson, who missed this episode in order to attend a “Joker” premiere?
The mock CNN town hall sketch that presented the Dem lineup also included alpha dog Kate McKinnon as Elizabeth Warren, a role she was playing long before the campaign kickoff. (The senator this week sounded a little like McKinnon’s version of Jodie Foster.) That’s despite her summer tease of a take on Marianne Williamson, who instead was handed off to a new hire, Chloe Fineman.
As he did during the 2016 campaign, former “SNL” writer Larry David came by to play Bernie Sanders, here musing that the out-of-touch Biden “makes me look like Drake.”
But the scene stealer by far was Kamala Harris. Instead of deploying Ego Nwodim, the lone African-American woman on the cast since the exit of Leslie Jones, the show tapped “SNL” Hall of Famer Maya Rudolph, who depicted the former prosecutor as both a self-perceived fun aunt, or “funt,” and a grandstander prone to the sort of sanctimonious speeches favored by TV lawyers. “I’m Rizzoli AND Isles,” she bragged.
Backing that up were a series of graphics touting Harris as the future star of various legal dramas, including “Above the Law,” Thursdays on NBC.
The bravura work likely ensured Rudolph will be making a raft of return appearances — like Alec Baldwin, who showed up Saturday as Donald Trump despite vowing he was “so done” with the role.