Making his second appearance in the role of President Biden, Mikey Day was quickly overshadowed by a sassy panda played by Bowen Yang in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch that parodied a presidential news conference from earlier this week.
Day, who became the show’s latest Biden impersonator at the end of October, wished the audience a happy Thanksgiving and said he’d try to keep things on the rails by sticking to his teleprompter.
“I had a great meeting with President Roman numeral 11,” Day said. “Excuse me, President Xi. This meeting was a total win. Sure, we made agreements about communications, fentanyl, climate change. But most importantly we got the thing America really needs right now: more pandas.”
After dodging news reporters’ questions about his age and the Mexican border, Day introduced Bowen Yang as Tian Tian, a giant panda that Washington returned to China earlier this month.
Yang was of course properly costumed for the role, though he blanched at being called a “giant panda.” “I think I’m really more slim thick,” he said.
Following a reporter’s question about whether he had liked his time in America, Yang answered, “There’s so much I’m going to miss. Legal weed. Anyway.” He went on to express concern about making friends in China now that he is an adult. “How do I panda-express this?” Yang said. “I just want to eat bamboo, sneeze in a cute way and not have sex, OK?”
Another reporter posed a question to Yang as he was munching on some aforementioned bamboo. “Sorry, bear with me,” he said. “Being cute. But as the rare person who identifies as Black, white and Chinese, I feel like I’m in the unique position to unite many peoples of the world.”
In that sense, he said, “I’m just like another hot Blasian icon, Tiger Woods. Except for, again, I hate sex.”
Yang told another reporter that the timing was right for him to leave America. “If Trump gets elected in 2024,” he said, “that would be a disaster. He said he’ll round up immigrants and put them in camps. Democracy might end. There might be a civil war.”
So would he vote for Biden?, the reporter asked. “Mmmm,” Yang answered warily. “Maybe.” He added: “I’m kidding. I’m a bear. I can’t vote.”
Day nonetheless tried to make the case that he and Yang were alike. “We’re dads,” said Day. “We’re cute. People love sharing videos of us falling down.”
History lesson of the week
This week’s host was the muscular movie star Jason Momoa and as charismatic as he is, he perhaps does not quite fit as a man of the early 1900s dressed in a porkpie hat, as he was cast in one sketch this week. He seemed more at home, however, wearing a Roman centurion’s helmet and armor in this filmed segment that riffs on viral videos about men’s obsessions with ancient Rome.
As the segment begins, Ego Nwodim (who has a lovely singing voice, by the way) muses melodically about her distant husband and what deep thoughts could be distracting him from their relationship. Momoa raps his answer:
“The Roman Empire, Ancient Rome,
Five times a day, it pops into my dome.
Which reminds me, they invented the dome,
Which is one of the reasons that I think about Rome.”
(The couple also has a child who raps about his fixation on the juvenile equivalent of ancient Rome: dinosaurs.)
Seasonal holiday sketch of the week
Thanksgiving always seems to inspire at least one memorable “S.N.L.” sketch each season, whether it’s a segment about Ana Gasteyer playing Martha Stewart or a feuding family united by the Adele song “Hello.”
That annual tradition is proudly upheld this year by “The Hudson News Thanksgiving Week Airport Parade,” a cut-rate pageant celebrating the desperate characters who will all find themselves trying to fly home in the days ahead. Set at Gate 78 of Terminal C at Newark airport (“Everybody’s third choice”), the participants include a couple on their last Thanksgiving trip together (Day and Heidi Gardner); a woman who took her Ambien a little too early (Molly Kearney); and Chloe Fineman as a woman with service animals she clearly doesn’t need.
Explaining that she carries three dogs to treat her rosacea, eczema and anxiety, Fineman is asked why she has anxiety. She of course replies, “I’m traveling with three dogs!”
Weekend Update jokes of the week
Over at the Weekend Update desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che continued to riff on President Biden’s news conference, his re-election efforts and Representative George Santos, who was the subject of a scathing House Ethics Committee report.
Possible George Santos send-off of the week
Yang’s remaining opportunities to play Santos on “S.N.L.” are surely dwindling as the congressman faces another vote to expel him from the House. If this appearance on Weekend Update was Yang’s swan song in the role, he gave it his all as he explained — in typical over-the-top fashion — why he spent campaign donations on Botox treatments and OnlyFans content.
“Isn’t Congress kind of like OnlyFans anyway?” Yang said. “People paying you to do nasty things on a sad, bad livestream?” He also parried Jost’s questions about his sexuality by claiming that he invented being gay. As Yang explained, “I was the one at Stonewall who said, ‘Here’s an idea: You guys should kiss.’”
Happy Thanksgiving everybody!