Jim Carrey will be the new impersonator of former vice president Joe Biden on Saturday Night Live, Vulture reported. He takes over for Woody Harrelson, who turned in a few performances as the Democratic presidential nominee last season, and Jason Sudeikis, who had the job of impersonating Biden for years during the Obama administration.
The act of skewering politicians has been a page in SNL‘s playbook since the early days when Chevy Chase impersonated Gerald Ford taking pratfalls. No president since then has been able to escape being parodied on the stalwart NBC sketch-comedy series, nor have any of their major opponents in the 12 presidential elections that have taken place during the show’s four-decade-plus run.
With Saturday Night Live returning for its 46th season in the midst of a presidential race, and with the possibility that Joe Biden will be the president for the next four or eight years after the election, producer Lorne Michaels needed someone who is good at impersonating the Delaware politician. And he found his man not in a regular player, but in Jim Carrey.
Michaels said that Carrey had actually put the ball in NBC’s court when it came to hiring him as Biden.
“There was some interest on his part. And then we responded, obviously, positively. But it came down to discussions about what the take was. He and 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,” he said.
Michaels also talked in-depth about the fact that lately, big-time celebrities — rather than cast members — have impersonated politicians. For example, the role of Donald Trump has, for the past several years, gone to Alec Baldwin, who is not and never has been a regular Saturday Night Live cast member. Baldwin is slated to continue to do guest spots as Trump in the upcoming season.
“I honestly don’t think of them as celebrity cameos… [Alec is] just part of an extended group in the same way that if Tina Fey has something meaningful to say on [Weekend] Update, we’d welcome her,” he said.
Another member of the extended group of SNL performers who do cameos as politicians will be coming back for the 46th season’s roster of political impersonators. Maya Rudolph, who was on the show between 2000 to 2007, will return as Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris, having turned in a few cameo impressions of her in sketches last year.
One major political role will, however, be going to a regular cast member. Beck Bennett, who has been with the show since 2013, will continue to spoof Mike Pence.