Don’t expect the era of celebrity cameos to end anytime soon at Saturday Night Live. Today Lorne Michaels revealed in an interview with Vulture that Jim Carrey will be playing Joe Biden in the show’s upcoming 46th season, opposite Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris. Beck Bennett will presumably be the only actual cast member of the show to play one of the four major candidates on the presidential ballot this fall, continuing on as Trump’s running mate Mike Pence. That is, unless Michaels runs into Robert Downey Jr. or somebody at Babette’s in East Hampton this weekend, and offers him the role instead.
Remember how Dan Aykroyd kept coming back in 1988 to play George Bush during the election? Or when Tom Hanks would pop up as Bill Clinton in 1992? Right, you don’t, because that never happened. Back then SNL’s cast actually got to star on SNL, and not just pop up in the background or squeeze in between whatever famous people drop by that week. I have no idea if anybody on the show today could be half as good at Biden as Dana Carvey was as Bush or Phil Hartman was as Clinton, but it could make for a more interesting show if they had the chance.
Saturday Night Live has an absurdly large cast. It’s actually getting even bigger this season; nobody from last year is leaving, and today Michaels announced three new cast members, Andrew Dismukes, Lauren Holt and Punkie Johnson. That’s a cast of 20 people, and almost all of them will be shut out of the major roles in the sketches that are guaranteed to be opening every episode this season. That’s, y’know, weird. And dumb. Probably bad, even. Huh.
SNL’s back on October 3, live in the studio for the first time since March, and apparently with a small, socially distanced audience. The pandemic’s probably another reason why it’s not smart to bring different famous people in for walk-on roles in every cold open, but maybe they’ll just do every sketch with characters standing inexplicably far away from one another. Debate sketches, at least, should be easy to distance—and sure enough, the show’s return episode is set to air just a few days after Trump and Biden’s first debate.
Anyway, maybe we’ll at least get to see Carrey bring his beloved classic character Fire Marshall Bill back to SNL—oh wait, that was a different show. One he was actually in the cast of. Heck.