For the first time this season, Saturday Night Live did not have a debate to parody since this past week's second presidential debate was canceled after President Donald Trump refused to debate Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden virtually. Instead, the SNL writers picked from the dueling town halls the candidates held on Thursday night. Alec Baldwin returned after a week off to play Trump, while Jim Carrey was back again as Biden.
The cold open swapped between the town halls to "recreate" how the SNL writers believed people watched the events. Biden was portrayed as a candidate delivering long, meandering answers that diverted from the subject. Meanwhile, Trump avoided giving clear answers to Savannah Guthrie, played by Kate McKinnon.
So, just to be clear... pic.twitter.com/xnd6y0BooE— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) October 18, 2020
Although Biden's town hall on ABC earned more viewers, Trump's town hall on NBC produced more viral moments that had Twitter buzzing. In one moment, voter Paulette Dale stole the show by telling Tump he has a "handsome" smile. Some SNL fans thought Dale would be a perfect part for Allison Janney to play. Unfortunately for those fans, regular cast member Chloe Fineman ended up playing Dale. Cast member Ego Nwodm appeared as Mayra Joli, the "nodding woman." Joli ran for Congress in 2018 and is a Trump supporter. Maya Rudolph's Sen. Kamala Harris then came in to comment on the bizarre situation.
As the town halls went on, the styles of each continued to diverge. Trump's turned into a WrestleMania-style match between him and Guthrie. Biden's became similar to a PBS show, with him first donning Fred Rogers' sweater then beginning to paint like Bob Ross. In his closing statement, Biden said he will not tweet once as president, "because I don't know how." Trump then said there was only one question that matters: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" as animated U.S. screamed "No."
Oh, Paulette pic.twitter.com/bNSu7jX9SN— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) October 18, 2020
The first two SNL episodes of the season both started with debate parodies, first tackling Trump and Biden's first presidential debate and then Vice President Mike Pence's debate with Biden's running mate, Harris. Both sketches made fun of the most viral moments from the real events. Last week's parody of the vice presidential debate even included an elaborate moment involving Biden being turned into the fly that landed on Pence's head.
This week's episode was hosted by comedian Issa Rae, the star and co-creator of HBO's Insecure. She was joined by musical performer Justin Bieber. Unlike last week, the SNL producers did not need to make any last-second changes. The Oct. 10 episode was originally slated to feature country singer Morgan Wallen, but he was forced to drop out after videos of him ignoring coronavirus social distancing guidelines days before the taping surfaced. Wallen was replaced by Jack White, whom many viewers decided was a better choice anyway.