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SNL’s cold open presents ‘ghost of Biden past’ amid sinking poll numbers, escalating problems

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The cold open for “Saturday Night Live” featured a skit whereby President Joe Biden meets himself from his days as Barack Obama’s vice president, circa 2013, when he was riding higher in terms of popularity and had far fewer responsibilities versus his current tanking approval ratings and escalating crises at the border and with the U.S. supply chain.

The skit featured Biden, who was played by the newest “SNL” cast member James Austin Johnson, fretting and struggling over Democrat Party infighting, tanking poll numbers, and rising anger and criticism over his policies.

“Things are going to turn around though?” Biden asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki, being played by Chloe Fineman, after she told him that his recent “CNN town hall was watched by no one and your approval rating is in the dumpster.”

She added: “I’m bad at lying so I’m going to leave.”

At that, Johnson as Biden began to think back to his days before winning the presidency. “I don’t understand,” he mused. “People used to like me. The press would call me Uncle Joe. I miss the old me. Where the hell did that guy go?”

Next, guest-host Jason Sudeikis appeared before him as Biden when he was Obama’s vice president.

“I’m you from eight years ago, man. The ghost of Biden past. Boo!” said Sudeikis, who was sporting the president’s signature aviator sunglasses.

“How can you be me?” Johnson’s Biden character said, puzzled. “You seem so happy, so carefree, so … what’s the word I’m looking for?”

“Lucid,” quipped Sudeikis’ Biden, adding that he was from a time when the current president was still VP.

“Easiest gig in the world. We’re like America’s wacky neighbor, you know? Just pop in with some ice cream cones, some aviator shades, just finger guns, you know, shake a few hands, rub a few shoulders,” Sudeikis’s Biden said.

Johnson’s presidential character then warned that these days he isn’t allowed to rub on shoulders or shake anyone’s hand. But that does stop the Sudeikis Biden from rubbing his 2021 self’s shoulders and telling Johnson’s Biden to “loosen up.” He then takes a “whiff” of his 2021 self before saying that he does not want to sound sexing, “but you’ve got to smile more, sweetie.”

Present-day Biden goes on to complain that “the last president ruining everything” — a reference to Donald Trump — for serving fast food at the White House, hanging out with porn stars, and fighting with the pope.

“Wow, Hillary got awesome!” the 2013 Biden said, assuming that the former secretary of state won instead of Trump.

Johnson’s Biden then told his previous self that he is increasingly unhappy with moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, which caused the latter-day Biden to joke that the only Manchin he’s really interested in is the “Playboy mansion!”

As he prepared to go back to 2013, the VP Biden recommended to his 2021 self that he stand tall while flashing “those 100% natural choppers we’ve got and remember we may be from different eras but at the end of the day we’re both Joe freakin’ Biden.”

Sudeikis is a former SNL cast member and he has played Biden previously on the show. Nowadays, he stars in a hit TV series called “Ted Lasso.”

Brandi Carlile was SNL’s musical guest.

Jon Dougherty

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