Saturday Night Live finds a new Joe Biden after Jim Carrey exits

Actor Alex Moffat plays US President-elect Joe Biden, while actress Maya Rudolph plays US Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris in Saturday Night Live's final episode of 2020. PHOTO: SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE/INSTAGRAM

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - It was with some fanfare that Saturday Night Live (SNL) announced in September that it had recruited actor Jim Carrey to play former United States vice-president Joe Biden, then the Democratic presidential nominee and now President-elect.

At the time, SNL creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels went so far as to say that Carrey's performance would be "stunning, and possibly transcend comedy".

But Carrey's exit from the role, which he had not played since November, was more subdued.

In a tweet posted on Saturday afternoon (Dec 19), Carrey wrote that his time playing Mr Biden "was only meant to be 6 weeks" and that although he considered the assignment to be "comedy's highest call of duty," he was "just one in a long line of proud, fighting SNL Bidens!"

As longtime viewers know, the part had previously been played by cast members and guest stars including Jason Sudeikis, Woody Harrelson and John Mulaney.

And by Saturday night, SNL had already lined up another cast member, Alex Moffat, to play Mr Biden in the show's opening sketch.

The sketch focused on US Vice-President Mike Pence (played by Beck Bennett) receiving a coronavirus vaccine from a doctor played by Mikey Day.

They were then joined by actress Maya Rudolph in her recurring role as US Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris.

"How did you even get into the White House?" Bennett asked, scrambling to cover up his exposed forearms.

"I won more votes," Rudolph answered.

Here, Moffat made his entrance as Mr Biden, walking with a cane and wearing an orthopaedic boot on one foot - only to turn a Willy Wonka-style somersault and stand upright.

"You look different somehow," Bennett said, alluding to the new casting.

Moffat replied: "I'm like Colonel Sanders - every time you see me, I'm a different guy. There's a good chance that this time next year, I'm going to be Mario Lopez."

This episode, hosted by SNL alumnus Kristen Wiig and featuring singer Dua Lipa as its musical guest, was the final live broadcast of the year.

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