But Damons one-time appearance as the Supreme Court Justice justified the stunt. Armisen will always be considered an all-time great when it comes to SNL cast members, but when explaining why, no one will be quick to call attention to his Obama impression.

The impressions can be hit or miss, and while some fictional Commanders in Chief have been able to garner more favor with the general public than their real-life counterpart, thats not always the case.

Emphasizing the former New York governors partial blindness could have come across as a cruel joke, but there was a sweetness in the way Armisen wandered aimlessly around the Weekend Update set. *Sorry, there was a problem signing you up. Unfortunately, Pharoah was hamstrung by the same limitations that faced Armisenmainly the lack of juicy source material.

Jim Meskimen is an impressionist, voice artist and character actor known for his spot-on recreations of George W. Bush, Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro. No wonder Trump often goes on a Twitter rant after one of Baldwins guest appearances.

Dana Carvey's stiff, patrician take on George H. W. Bush. When the show decided to incorporate him into a bit, it opted to go with the bullpen-by-committee approach; Charles Rocket, Randy Quaid, and Joe Piscopo all tried their hand (Robin Williams even gave it a shot when he stopped by to host) but none of them really managed to make much of a mark. I know he was president and I know his name was Geraldor maybe his name is Gerald.

[18] Beck Bennett played Clinton once, in 2013.

Jim Carreyis currently playing Joe Biden, but its hard to imagine him sticking around permanently.

I do, however, know that Chevy Chase played Ford during Saturday Night Lives first season.

. .

They arent necessarily bad in and of themselves, though. The SNL presidential sketch was also done in the 2006 film Man of the Year, where Robin Williams played the President and Tina Fey, playing herself, was making jokes about the fictional President, only to be interrupted by the President appearing on the set of SNL.

But it hasn't yet settled on a great version of Biden.

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Andrew Jackson (referenced) (1829-1837, Democratic), 16. Baldwin has done a decent job but hes run into the same problemSNLencountered during the Bush presidency, as it can be hard to find humor in many of the events that have transpired since the last election and the behavior and personality of the person who won it. Among the cast, being chosen to impersonate the President is Saturday Night Live's highest honor.

But there was no synthesis between Carrey the celebrity, Biden the politician, and the Carrey-as-Biden that appeared onstage. "Like, the audience has to understand your premise and kind of agree with it.

They are developed quickly, under the stress of putting on a live program each week, with scripts that can change right up until airtime. After Forte, the show briefly ran with Jason Sudeikis as Bush.

SNL's ratings rose at the peak of the Lewinsky-scandal,[9] and when Monica Lewinsky guested the show in 1999, she appeared with Hammond's Clinton. The comic superstars take on George W. Bush would end up on Broadway, but he really found his rhythm as host of Janet Renos Dance Party. The late attorney general showed she had a fine sense of humor and some fine moves when she crashed the basement bash during her last day in office. While Phil Hartman tackled the controversial politician first, Hammond took it to the next level.

In Millers book, he still credits Akyroyd and Chase for helping to pave the way for future SNL presidents, saying that if Chevy hadnt been as good with Ford and Danny hadnt been as good with Carter, I dont think SNLwould have rocketed off in terms of political satire and impersonations the way it did..

In recent years, SNLseems to have drifted away from relying on recurring sketches and characters but they were at the heart of the program in the 1990s, and for Carvey, Bush was just another tool in a box that was filled to the brim with them. You have to give respect where respect is due and Carvey gets all the respect in the world for what he pulled off during his time in the fake Oval Office. Rudolph just won an Emmy for her portrayal last season of the California senator, so expect more pop-ins from the former cast member now that Harris is on the Democratic ticket.

Impressionist/actor Jay Pharoah has a zeroed in on a few distinctive traits some comics call them "handles" to help flesh out his version of Biden; there's the little rasp in his voice, as well as favorite Biden phrases like "c'mon man," "malarkey" and, of course, "here's the deal.". Pharoah recalls Saturday Night Live sat on an idea he brought up when he joined the show in 2010; a character who was Obama's more emotional subconscious. He held onto the gig from 2008 through 2012, and while it wasnt a bad run, it wasnt a particularly memorable one.

Carrey pulls his jaw taught against his face, curling his lower lips over his teeth in an exacerbated old mans grimace.

His version possessed a lot of the qualities that were encapsulated by many other characters he played on the show, including the cluelessness, bravado, chest-puffing, and subtle insecurities that defined his Bush. He and Rudolph put their fingers to their foreheads in big Ls.

After a quick search, it appears he is not and has not been for 14 years.

In fairness, Saturday Night Livestruggled to portray President Obama the entire time he held office, as he just didnt really give them that much to work with; other presidents had particular quirks and major scandals the show could use for material but for the most part, the sketches involving him largely poked fun at him for trying a bit too hard to come off as a cool and normal guy, which wasnt exactly a fountain of comedy.

Whether or not they change opinions or shape the conversation, great impressions help us process major political figures. Like Chevy Chase before him, authenticity wasnt high on the to-do list when it came to impersonating the president. ", Or Tina Fey's giddy, homespun version of former Alaska Gov.

And the one thing he wishes people understood better? Several major Hollywood studios that sat out the convention even before the mask era (including Marvel) are headed back down Highway 5 to San Diego.

It might be a pleasant change of pace to watch four years of an undramatic Biden impression from an SNL cast member unburdened by a huge celebrity image. He most recently brought in Jim Carrey to play Joe Biden (even though Id argue SNLalum Jason Sudeikis wouldve been a better choice based on his killer impression) but its hard to imagine hed stick around for four more years if Biden wins.

Dana Carvey holds the rare distincting of playing multiple characters during the same presidential sketch, where he played President George H. Bush and Ross Perot in a skit spoofing the 1992 presidential election debates. While his son might have seemed like a cool dude you could see yourself inviting to a party, Bush Sr. was the guy you stopped on the street to ask for directions to the party. All rights reserved.

It felt like a moment he'd been angling toward all season. Fey took full advantage, capturing both the Alaska governors guile and gumption in a string of Emmy-nominated appearances.

Reagan became president around the same time Eddie Murphy was taking the world by storm and the show wisely leaned on the comedian more than anything else in pursuit of laughs. Quantity doesnt mean quality, my friends. At first, it was pretty fun. But he peaked with his interpretation of the vice president as a James Bond villain. Among his 18 appearances as Clinton,[5] a December 1992 sketch, in which Clinton enters a McDonald's and eats customers' food while talking about politics, has been noted as a successful one. The shine was gone and covered by a little sleaze that coated a number of scandals thatSNLsteered straight into.

It helped that the show had some master impressionists in the castpeople who could really nail the subjects they were portraying and then making them characters themselves as opposed to just stock impressionsand Hartmans turn as Reagan kicked off the Golden Age of SNL presidents.

When you consider having Murphy portray The Gipper wouldve been a bit of a stretch, these sketches werent a top priority. The President of the United Statesis the chief executive of the United States of America.

Ford was a stern dudea real rock of a manand if you were to Google him (like I just did) youd probably think that he was a fella who was at the very least, steady on his feet.

Jimmy Carter was the second president to hold office during Saturday Night Lives run and Dan Akyroyd was the second cast member to play one.

[1][15], A 1994 sketch had several cast members auditioning to play Clinton, including Chris Farley, David Spade, Chris Elliott, Adam Sandler, and Tim Meadows. Do you know anything about Gerald Ford? Morally Bankrupt Finance Grads Are Back in the.

Saturday Night Live Wiki is a FANDOM TV Community. Years later, Comedy Central's show Key & Peele debuted Obama's "anger translator," Luther, in a similar sketch, and Pharoah saw an opportunity missed. The premiere gives us a mixed bag of old and new with an original character that provides an origin story for a Coven character. Its not difficult to see the celebrity cameos on SNL as uniformly disastrous, especially after four years of Alec Baldwins repetitive, uninsightful Trump.

Bush himself was a fan of Carveys take on him and as Miller points out, the two men had several appearances together where Bush would openly laugh at the comedians impression.

He maintains his own blog, Giddy Up America, and has previously contributed work to UPROXX & Heavy.

It was perfectly serviceable but nothing compared to his eventual takes on Biden and Mitt Romney.


He never went too dark, generally poking fun at him by taking aim at relatively easy targets. even though he keeps coming back.

TikTok Is in Shambles Over Fletchers Messy Breakup Song, Beckys So Hot name-checks her exs current partner and wonders how she tastes., The 5 Biggest Storylines to Follow at This Years San Diego Comic-Con. Different presidents have been featured on Saturday Night Live. When Hammond did his pattened thumbs up and bite-the-lip move and directed it at the camera, it read like a sign between him and the audience; an acknowledgment that whatever he was doing at the time was funny because hell, it was probably true. But the sketch doesnt take aim at Biden himself the jokes are about Florida, about all the drunk moms celebrating his victory, and about Trump, sitting at a piano and singing a sad slow version of Macho Man..

Any signs of sympathy went out the window. William Howard Taft (referenced) (1909-1913, Republican), 28. Thats Dana Carvey; nobody else can do Church Lady.. Prosecutors allege Donnell Russell purposefully thwarted the premiere and a panel consisting of Kellys accusers. After coming out swinging with memorable takes on Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, SNL got as lost in the weeds as Beck Bennet did after he encountered David S. Pumpkins when it came to tackling Ronald Reagan. George W. Bush .

[11], In 1997, he appeared as Clinton at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner. The best memes about the new social-media app.

Hammond says the key to finding Gore was going over the sketch's dialogue with Jim Downey, long known as one of the sharpest political writers on the show. Hammond played him in a classic SNL debate sketch opposite Will Ferrell's equally classic, dimwitted George W. Bush speaking slowly and patronizingly, constantly mentioning one word: "lockbox.".

Telling Clinton that he felt foolish, the president replied "I think you look terrific.

Others who have played Biden in the past includeJason Sudeikis,Woody Harrelson, andJohn Mulaney. Harry S. Truman (referenced) (1945-1953, Democratic), 34. Thankfully, Ferrells Bush could always be viewed in one of two waysas an incompetent moron or the everyman with a fair amount of flaws but who ultimately meant welland Ferrell never failed to deliver regardless of which route he took. Starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles with director Olivia Wilde. "Presidents already it seems to me like they have a public persona that is very much a created thing it's like they're already imitating somebody, so they're meeting you halfway," Meskiman says, laughing. It didnt matter what Gumby was up to but you could be damn sure it was definitely better than anything involving Reagan. The 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, has been parodied on Saturday Night Live (SNL) since 1992. He played him like the fun-loving, good ol boy we all assumed Clinton was and it was a damn good time when he did it. He says he had fun on Saturday Night Live, but feels they held him back too much on playing Obama.

But Hammond is more than willing to dish, revealing that he looked up old speeches by Bill Clinton's idol, John F. Kennedy, to get a handle on how Clinton himself spoke. .

All rights reserved. There Is a Monkeypox Antiviral. SNL cast member Alex Moffat is the latest to take on the role, and although his first brief appearance was pretty empty, theres potential in Moffats ability to play good-natured nitwits, people who mean well but have no idea that theyre living in their own warped realities.

Instead, she ended up covering Hallelujah in character in one of the weirdest moments in the shows history and Baldwin found himself needing to stick around untilSNLfound someone else to play the now-presidentwhich hes been doing ever since.

Ryan harbors a constant fear of losing his keys, prefers flip flops, and will always choose cereal if it's an option. Political impressions by cast members, including Darrell Hammonds Bill Clinton and Dana Carveys George Bush, have had power because theyve created an argument about those figures, and because their impressions were not eclipsed by their own celebrity. It didnt matter how on point his Obama impression was because if theres not a lot to work with, then it ultimately doesnt matter how uncanny you are.

As was the case with other successful SNL presidents, Carvey took parts of the real Bush and ran with them, whether it was his speaking style, interesting mannerisms, or general lack of coolness and suaveness. Hartman was a good guy and that goodness tended to shine through in all of his impressions.

Fast food is the least of our worries.

Anything gets boring with enough time.

At the end of 1986, Hartman debuted his Reagan impression and would spend the next few years portraying the president as duplicitous and two-faced; charming and affable at one moment and conviving and duplicitous on the other. I dont know anything about Gerald Ford.

But there was something devilish in the way he approached the Kansas senator, suggesting that at any moment he might turn around and moon the audience. The first, blunt line of McCarthys Spicer was her gender Spicers weak because hes being played by a lady!

"These men and women of destiny, they're complicated," Hammond adds. Saturday Night Live couldnt return to the studio this weekend without recruiting a big star to play Joe Biden.

"[13] He also did an impression of Clinton as part of a 2001 White House Correspondents' Association dinner performance, after Clinton left office. In his book, Miller says Hartmans Reagan helped usher in a new era of SNLspolitical comedy in a similar way Chase and Akyroyd had a decade earlier.

For Donald Trump, he picked the term "solipsism" the philosophical view that the only reality you can be sure of in life is that your mind exists to describe how Trump uses his hands to bat away anything he doesn't want to think about.

Will ForteandJason Sudeikis, Ronald Reagan .

"When they get it right, it becomes a de-facto branding of the candidate," he says.


It is the SNL casting equivalent of Bidens own stated desire for his presidency to calm things down, to stop the constant political escalation. Things you buy through our links may earnNew Yorka commission.

This isnt so much an impression as it is a takedown.

Just do it, Lorne.

However, I still commend Armisen for his efforts and thank him for his service. Jim Carreys final scene as Saturday Night Lives Joe Biden impressionist was the most telling moment of his entire short tenure. That was not the case with Hammonds version and it made for a very entertaining ride. You\'ll receive the next newsletter in your inbox. Now officially a rap duo, Mia and Shawna struggle to find their footing as collaborators. "I was just forced to be a part of the machine and try to do the best I can.".

In a head-to-head match between Armisen and Jay Pharoah based on comedic prowess alone, the former is the obvious winner. More significant, though, is Moffats relative lack of celebrity. In the very last moment, Carreys impression reveals itself for what it always was. A failed impression is a failed opportunity, an outlet for release and interpretation thats been denied.

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I remember meeting people who had worked for Ford later on and they said, Hes a great jock! Consider Dana Carvey's stiff, patrician take on George H. W. Bush, complete with phrases like "wouldn't be prudent. Bush, but his impersonation of Perot was more hilarious, imagining the former presidential candidate as the Church Lady with elephant ears. . For Hammond, those mannerisms, or "handles," are so important he names them. Hes so fantastic!, But after Chevy got done with him, a lot of people thought of Ford as a stumbling, bumbling guy. You wanted to grab a beer and watch some college football with both the real Clinton and the SNL Clinton.

Sarah Palin, recreating her folksy-sounding word salad with a line the real-life Palin never said: "I can see Russia from my house.

Carreys Biden failed because the central task of a political impression is to have some idea of who that person is.

James Andrew Miller, co-author of the bestselling book Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, says the show's impressions often teach us how to feel about certain politicians and candidates.

It may have been intended as a fun moment where Carrey drops the character, but it fails to land. As his second term wound down, the show found more luck with sketches involving Vice President Dick Cheney (played by Hammond,) leaving Forte more time to focus on original characters like MacGruber, which turned out to be for the best when everything was said and done.

Moffat likewise has room to create a Biden that is more about Biden than about whatever celebrity is playing him, and casting him in that role focuses the comedy away from big stunts.

It showed right away that SNLhad a real ability to take people and create a whole persona for them..

According to The New York Times, Gore's aides showed the sketch to their boss, just to show him what not to do in the next debate.

He predicts Biden impressions will get better as the nation gets to know him as president.

The Oscar-nominated actor does nothing to hide his hatred of the current president, casually dropping racist and sexist asides as if he were ordering a Diet Coke. The show first tried out the reliable Darrell Hammon and then gave Chris Parnell a shot before settling on Will Forte.

After Biden Victory, 'SNL' Returns To Form Thanks To Dave Chappelle.

He may not have been a huge buffoon in real life, but as Miller notes, that didnt really matter, because thats how people started to view him: Chevy was able to turn him (Ford) into this guy who was always falling down and hitting his head. When Will Ferrell leftSaturday Night Live, he left several pairs of big shoes that needed to be filledthe largest of which was his portrayal of George W. Bush.

The shows former head writer looked so much like the vice presidential candidate that even Feys own daughter had a hard time telling them apart. Ryan is on Twitter: @ryanoconnell79. Secret Service Agent: Fine. Or maybe the world will continue at its current fever pitch, and SNL will continue to respond in the only way it seems to know how: by booting him for an A-lister.

News that Jim Carrey will temporarily join the cast to portray the Democratic presidential candidate has me reflecting on my top 10 favorite impersonations of politicians in the shows 45-year history and theyre not necessarily the ones you might think.

In 2018 it was a familiar enough topic that Tina Fey took a faux-audience question from Jerry Seinfeld in an SNL opening monologue: Do you think the show has too many celebrity cameos these days? The A.V. You learn something new every day.

His voice rises, his grin turns wicked, a looooooser, he finishes in a growl. Club argued last September that celebrity cameos are good because it allows the main cast to steer clear of the clunky political comedy. You wont be sorry (or you might be, but hey, you can always call some famous celebrity if it doesnt work out).

Her Spicer was explosive and unpredictable, a methodically exaggerated image of the man who was perpetually on the brink of losing his cool at the press secretarys podium. And even without that political weight, itd be nice to spend the next four years with a Biden impression that hits somewhere nearer to the mark.

With rare exception, this has always gone to a male cast member. I dont want to get too political here (which is easier said than done considering the topic at hand), but by this point, a lot of people would like to be able to use the show as an escape from our current reality as opposed to being reminded of it during basically every single cold open. And it's only the whole world watching.". . By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy and to receive email correspondence from us.

If it wasnt for Carveys time playing the elder Bush, Hammond would easily have had the top spot here but part of the reason he doesnt is that Carvey paved the way for the cast members who would portray all of the presidents after him.

The numerous sketches on Clinton are often inspired by aspects of his presidency, the Lewinsky scandal, and his relationship with his wife, herself a frequent subject in SNL's political sketches.[2][3].

That's an even tougher question for Saturday Night Live, a comedy institution known for defining the nation's most important politicians.

Regardless, viewers have now come to expect comedic mercenaries to pop up when it comes to poking fun at people in the world of politicswhether its Melissa McCarthy playing Sean Spicer, Maya Rudolph portraying Kamala Harris, or Brad Pitt channeling Anthony Fauci (and getting an Emmy nomination as a result).

Hammond was the first person to play Trump in the early days of his campaign before he handed the reins to Taran Killam, who was a great impressionist who expertly honed in on his mannerisms but he lacked the physical stature to pull it off convincingly enough.

That included his take on Clinton, which was generally light-hearted and funny.

Copyright 2008-2022 BroBible. Anyone famous enough to get cast in the current era of headline-grabbing SNL casting ploys is also famous enough that their celebrity has its own distinct world of meaning.

These days, Pharoah is building his resume as a more conventional actor, co-starring in Hulu's new comedy Bad Hair.

But Try Getting It.

As if trying to squeeze juice from the Obama years was hard enough,SNL had to contend withKey & Peeles bit featuring Luther, the presidents Anger Translator They found a hook and way to have fun with the president andSNL took some inspiration from (or arguably ripped off) the show on a couple of occasions by having Dwayne Johnson play an Incredible Hulk-style version of Obama.

But it does need to present a coherent idea of that person.

Its unclear who will play the president going forward, no matter who wins.

Lyndon B. Johnson (referenced) (1963-1969, Democratic), Ross Perot (1992, independent; 1996, Reform), Ralph Nader (1996 and 2000, Green Party; 2004, Reform; 2008, independent). The show had largely played nice when it came to its portrayal of the president, but with Clinton, the gloves came off. The Weekend Update anchor didnt appear in a ton of sketches and he barely altered his normal speaking voice when he did. The president-elect sometimes hesitates when he speaks, but he's overcome a stutter and he's 77 and those are tough things to make fun of without looking cruel.

His stint as Ford (which he reprised a handful of times in later years) is notable because of how it helped shape the presidents public image. With Biden poised to take office as the nation's 46th president, comics like Pharoah face a crucial question: How to impersonate him in a way that really resonates? Uproxx.comranked every presidential impression in the history ofSNL. Phil Hartman was the first cast member to portray Bill Clinton and did so until he left the show in 1994. Grover Cleveland (referenced) (1885-1889, 1893-1897, Democratic), 25. Alec Baldwin has repeatedly talked about how hes overplaying Trump . Charles Rocket,Randy Quaid, andJoe Piscopo. Sarah Palin, Impersonating The President: From Will Rogers To Obama's 'Anger Translator'.

Venita asks Olivia the hardest, sharpest, most baller question.

"Like, Richard Nixon always seemed to be trying to pretend to be someone other than he was.".

Again, theres no telling how things will play out following the election, but instead of looking forward, lets take a step back and reflect on the other impressions whoever ends up playing whoever wins this year will have to compete with by ranking all of theSNLpresidents to come before them. [17] Dana Carvey once appeared as a "young Clinton" in a 1996 sketch where Bob Dole (Norm Macdonald) uses a time-machine. although they simplified it a little by not ranking EVERY individual performance and grouping a few. For the last four years,Saturday Night Live has been trotting out Alec Baldwin to play Donald Trump.


Theres an oddball, surrealist vision where Carreys could have worked. Baldwin was brought in with great fanfare in the fall of 2016 to play Trump. The disorientation of it alone wouldve been a novel approach to a man whose main feature is that hes been around forever. The shows standout star for seven seasons became best known for his affectionate take on George H.W.

Baldwins Trump deploys squinted eyes and nightmarish skin tones, and it also carries Baldwins reputation as a defensive bully with a temper. How the president is largely viewed by the general public and what events are happening at the time obviously plays a role in shaping theSNLversion of the president and there is perhaps nothing that illustrates that better than Hammonds Clinton.

In some cases, we haven't even had eight hours to learn how to talk like Geraldo Rivera. I dont know if going with a more absurd take on Trump would have helped or not (I personally always wished they would have given the gig to Kyle Mooney), but either way, Baldwin can only do so much when it comes to tackling the inherent issues with the role hes shouldered. "The first time I did Gore on Weekend Update a year previous to the election, people didn't even know who he was," adds the comic.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (referenced) (1953-1961, Republican), 36.