Saturday Night Live will be back for election season and will continue its recent trend of recruiting some star power to parody notable media figures. Alec Baldwin will stay on as Trump, as you probably guess. And, yes, Maya Rudolph will be on hand to play Senator Kamala Harris. And for the Democratic nominee, none other than Jim Carrey will be headed down to Studio 8H to suit up for the man who could be headed (back) to the White House come 2021.
“There was some interest on [Carrey’s] part,” Lorne Michaels told Vulture. “And then we responded, obviously, positively. But it came down to discussions about what the take was. He and [head writer] Colin Jost had a bunch of talks. He and I as well. He will give the part energy and strength, and… [laughs], hopefully it’s funny.”
The show will return (with a studio audience) on October 3, and Michaels told Vulture they’d be working with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in an attempt to keep things safe at Rockefeller Plaza. The schedule will be aggressive by SNL standards: five shows in a row between the season premiere and the election.
SNL is also bringing on three new castmembers: Upright Citizens Brigade alum Lauren Holt, comedian and writer Punkie Johnson and longtime SNL staff writer Andrew Dismukes. It is interesting to see how few of SNL‘s big, attention-grabbing roles are being given to in-house talent these days. Long gone is the era of Will Ferrel’s George W. Bush, Darrell Hammond’s Bill Clinton or Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin. It’s certainly understandable to want to grab a few eyeballs with a splashy celebrity cameo, but it also negates some of the show’s old chaotic energy.
Ferrel didn’t really look or even sound much like Bush, but the show turned the bug into a feature, creating a folksy, dimwitted facsimile of the then-President who didn’t have much in common with the real thing but was awfully entertaining on his own. That’s the sort of creative verve that created some iconic SNL characters in the past. Carrey is undoubtedly able to pull a similar trick (he doesn’t look much like Biden himself, although his famous rubberface can probably pull it off) but it’s a shame SNL‘s fresh talent isn’t being given more opportunities to shine.