Saturday Night Live’s most notable political impersonations


Courtesy of SNL on Instagram

Maya Rudolph and Beck Bennett

Tiara Starks, Entertainment Editor

The NBC late-night sketch comedy show, “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) is notorious for its satirical take on current politics. The show was closely followed during the 2016 presidential election as there has been discourse regarding how much influence the impersonations have on the election. In 2020, this conversation has not changed. Here is an overview of the 2020 political impersonations thus far:

Actress and comedian Maya Rudolph has been recognized for her portrayal of vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris. According to the Associated Press, on the potential for her to impersonate her for the next four years, Rudolph said: “Let’s go. I’m ready.”

Larry David, well known for starring in hit television shows, “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” has been brought back into the spotlight for his impersonation of Vermont Senator and former 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. David’s impersonation has been praised highly for his spot-on mannerisms and vocal cadence. Not only that but, ironically enough, David and Sanders are actually distant relatives.

Colin Jost, current co-head writer on SNL and Weekend Update anchor, portrayed 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. This is another ironic portrayal as they were dormmates during college.

Previously, former cast member Jason Sudekis and actor Woody Harrelson have portrayed the former vice president and current 2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden. In a surprise announcement, however, Jim Carrey was picked to impersonate the politician for this upcoming election.

Carrey’s take on Biden has been talked about greatly by both fans and critics of the show. Some have said Carrey’s portrayal is “inaccurate.” Karen Valby at Vanity Fair wrote “He’s a monkey tasked with playing a tortoise,” a quip on the comedian’s recognizable outlandish behavior when he portrays other characters in comparison to Biden’s more toned down personality.

Previously, 14-year cast member Darrell Hammond had been impersonating Donald Trump up until he was told by SNL producer Steve Higgins that he would no longer have the role. Currently, Donald Trump is being portrayed by actor Alec Baldwin, who has recently been criticized for defending an SNL sketch in which the details of Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis were mocked.

SNL is also known for not only mocking national but local and state politics. After New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer resigned, the show capitalized off of then-Lieutenant Gov. David Paterson who was portrayed by Fred Armisen.

Armisen is famously known for impersonating many political figures including former President Barack Obama and former New York mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg.

These impersonations play a big part in how people view the respective politicians as they highlight the unique personalities that flood the current world of politics.

Saturday Night Live is currently being taped in-studio with a limited audience at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City and is broadcasted every week on Saturday on NBC.