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Joe Biden Octogenarian Jokes & Praise Turns ‘SNL’ Cold Open Old & Tired Fast

“Good afternoon, I’m Dana Bash, and welcome to Inside Politics,” announced the ever-dependable Heidi Gardner  at the promising top of Saturday Night Live’s clearly politically inclined cold open tonight. “Later, we’ll give Wolf Blitzer an edible and an hour to solve the Middle East.”

Then it was right into Joe Biden’s latest bad poll numbers and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, as played by featured player Michael Longfellow, pumping it up for Uncle Joe. With Biden’s status as the oldest Commander-in-Chief ever the core of the cold opening, the sometimes stumbling and confused POTUS got credit not just for a good economy but also Beyoncé going country, and the return of the Shamrock Shake at McDonald’s.

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“The software might be in beta, but the man is in alpha,” Longfellow’s Newsom said of the 81-year-old Biden in language that the Golden State surrogate with White House aspirations of his own may have or will soon use.

Even with Ego Nwodim coming on as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, this felt like another one of those very forced SNL cold opens. You know, the ones where they are trying to be so topical and so ripped from the headlines that it ends up with shards of humor at best.

Exhibit A, the punchline on Nwodim’s Biden morning schedule gag: “And that’s all before lunchtime where he eats five full chickens and a raw potato.”

“Dana, I was just with him, and behind closed doors, he’s a dynamo,” exclaimed Marcello Hernández as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. ‘This weekend, we both went down to the border town of Brownsville, Texas and Joe went into beast mode … then he parkoured up to the top of the border wall., he front-flipped into the Rio Grande, and came back with a fish in his mouth.”

Somebody needs to tell Lorne Michaels that Biden age jokes and the adulation of his behind-the-Oval Office-doors wisdom, stamina and command of policy by Democrats are not worth anywhere near dime a dozen this election year at this point.

By the time tonight’s cold open got to Biden praise galore from Golden State Warrior forward Draymond Green, as played by SNL’s Devon Walker, and more affirmations of how strong Biden is behind closed doors, you were almost wishing what happened in the Situation Room stayed in the Situation Room, if you know what I mean?

Mikey Day’s short Facetime appearance as a tech-hapless Biden at least provided the definition of anti-climatic.

With Biden’s visit to the 10th anniversary of Seth Meyers’ late-night show, the announcement by octogenarian Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of a November exit from his GOP leadership perch, the growing legal perils of the Real Housewives franchise and Scandoval, and dueling border visits by former SNL host Trump and the current POTUS, the past week certainly offered a rich vein of material for SNL to mine. Heading into the least dramatic Super Tuesday in decades on March 5, growing fines and more court dates for the ex-Celebrity Apprentice frontman, what could be the final State of the Union of Biden’s presidency on March 7 and the Oscars on March 10, the coming week isn’t exactly a satire drought either.

But Old Man Biden vs Iron Joe was the SNL mantra and missed opportunity tonight.

The 13th episode of the NBC late-nigher’s 49th season, tonight sees Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney make her debut as SNL host. The show’s 961st episode also sees Kasey Musgraves return for her third stint as musical guest. The country star previously appeared on SNL in 2018 and 2021.

Next week will see Josh Brolin back for his third time as host, along with musical guest Ariana Grande marking her third time in Studio 8H.

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