‘SNL’ Takes Aim at Battleground State Elections in Cold Open With Cecily Strong, Heidi Gardner

Saturday Night Live”‘s cold open focused on the national drama surrounding hard-fought elections in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona in the opening sketch of Season 48’s fourth episode.

Portraying Dr. Mehmet Oz, cast member Mikey Day, donned a Phillies hat and awkwardly spoke of having a delicious “Philadelphia Cheese and Steak.” Day, as Oz, referred to his Democratic rival John Fetterman’s stroke, or a “Debilitating condition,” as a lucky break before taking a moment to push diet pills guaranteed to help dieters lose 30 pounds in a day.

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Portraying Kari Lake, Republican gubernatorial candidate in Arizona, Cecily Strong thanked Heidi Gardner, portraying “PBS News Hour” anchor Judy Woodruff, for welcoming her onto her “sweet little show full of lies.”

Pressed about denying the 2020 election results, Lake deflects the centerpiece of her campaign, explaining why she appeals to voters.

“I’m normal Judy, I’m just a regular hometown gal constantly in soft focus,” she said, adding that she clicked with “elderly terrified” voters in Arizona, the Florida of the West.

“Arizonans want to talk about the issues that affect them, like crime in New York, or crime in Detroit, or the most pressing issue, drag queen story time,” she said. “Men dressing as loud sassy women, introducing children to the joys of reading? Not on my watch.”

“If the people of Arizona elect me, I’ll make sure they never have to vote again,” she said.

Herschel Walker, a Georgia candidate for the U.S. Senate portrayed by Kenan Thompson, side-stepped the abortion issue with a bold claim: “Like the great Trump Donald said, I can pay for an abortion in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose any votes.” Walker also said last he checked his son was a “boy.”

The Oct. 29 episode was hosted by musician Jack Harlow, who pulled double duty as musical guest. After the cold open, the Kentucky-born Harlow’s monologue included some wry statements about his star’s fast rise in 2022 and his status as a genre-blending hip hop star. Harlow noted dismissive things that people have said about him: “You can find someone who looks like him at any gas station,” and that he looks like what you’d get “If you tried to draw Justin Timberlake from memory.”

Harlow also took a gentle swipe at the nation’s culture wars. “Some people have gone so far as to accuse me of being white,” he said. Noting that some kids are dressing up as him for Halloween, he pulled a faux-earnest face and said, “my culture is not a costume.”

In a later sketch, “SNL” looked ahead to the coming 2024 presidential race to spoof a forthcoming horror movie, “2020: Part 2: 2024,” with the tagline “Sometimes a Familiar Face Can Be the Most Terrifying.” Cast members feigned horror with an announcement that President Joe Biden may run again for President, then screeched in horror at the alternatives, including former candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Saturday Night Live” stars Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Mikey Day, Gardner, Ego Nwodim, Bowen Yang, Chloe Fineman, Punkie Johnson, Andrew Dismukes and Michael Che and Colin Jost as the hosts of Weekend Update. The cast also includes James Austin Johnson, Sarah Sherman, Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker as featured players. Kent Sublette, Alison Gates and Streeter Seidell serve as the head writers for the show, while Liz Patrick directs.

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