Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

And Saturday Night Live's new Joe Biden is . . .

Alex Moffat, Maya Rudolph
Screenshot: Saturday Night Live

. . . Alex Moffat! (Waits for reaction.)

Come on, you guys. Sure, the fifth-year cast member did come out to some sub-Jim Carrey-level applause in the cold open of last night’s Kristen Wiig-hosted Saturday Night Live. And while it’s hard to gauge reaction levels coming from Studio 8H’s pandemic-protocol, occasionally remunerated audience these COVID-surging days, Moffat gave the moment his all, first coming out in a limping, cane-dragging “Joe Biden sure is old” gait, before pulling a Gene Wilder and doing a nifty little Willy Wonka “gotcha” tumbling act.

Carrey, whose played the incoming President during the first episodes of Season 46, tweeted out his surprise resignation from the role earlier that day. (One can only assume Lorne and the cast were given their heads-up a little earlier.) And while SNL has been all about stacking the cold open political comedy roster with movie star ringers for quite some time now, it looks like the stalwart Moffat is Saturday Night Live’s guy—at least for now. As for the sketch itself—a Biden interrupted bit about Beck Bennett’s querulous Mike Pence getting the COVID vaccine on live TV—it didn’t hurt that Moffat was preceded by former cast member and homegrown ringer Maya Rudolph’s Kamala Harris, veep-slapping some sense into Pence’s waffling about the whole “who’s president?” thing not being settled. Trump and Pence lost, of course, badly, but are dragging their feet like church-dodging, tetchy, coup-curious toddlers, something someone needs to smack right out of their un-democratic melons. (Not saying it should be Maya, but also not-not saying that.)

Moffat joins an unsurprisingly long list of SNL cast members, hosts, and drop-bys who’ve played Joe Biden over the many, many years of his political life. And, while he didn’t get all that much airtime to show what he could do in this initial outing, Moffat looks good in a white wig (and whiter teeth), and he has that Biden smile-and-fist-bump energy going. The voice isn’t all there, but there’s a long layoff to work on that (SNL’s off until after the New Year). Plus, as onetime Uncle Joe Jason Sudeikis proved, a good Biden’s more about attitude and straight-shootin’ (coupled with some old-timey, lingo-happy pugnacious folksiness) than it is about sounding just like you’re actually from Scranton, or Delaware. So here’s to you, Alex Moffat, with the same message everyone’s got for the real Joe Biden. Things are very shaky out there—don’t screw this up.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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