Fox News media reporter Joseph Wulfsohn found another metric for how late-night comedy is going soft on President Biden – the “cold open” skit on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Even during the Biden presidency, they’ve had ten cold opens on Trump, and only seven on Biden.
There’s only one cold-open on Biden in the current 2022-23 season – the one right before the midterm elections, compared to four attacking Trump. So the comedy shows and the news shows both seem to obsess more over Trump and downplay Biden. The comedy shows got a little tougher with Biden just before Election Day – just like the “independent fact-checkers.”
In the first show of 2023 following the emergence of Biden’s classified document scandal where he admitted to storing sensitive records in his garage next to his corvette, SNL chose to instead mock embattled freshman Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., in the cold open.
Even defeated GOP candidates Kari Lake and Herschel Walker have made more appearances in the 48th season than the sitting president with two cold opens apiece.
The NBC program unprecedentedly went the first eight months of Biden’s presidency without mocking him in the cold open, waiting until [James] Austin Johnson made his debut in the Season 47 premiere that aired in October 2021….
At the same point during his presidency, Trump was mocked a whopping 20 times, nearly half the shows, in his first two years of office, according to the “SNL” archives on NBC’s Peacock streaming service.
In the Trump years, their fake president was played by Alec “Gunslinger” Baldwin, so it was never gentle. Wulfsohn noted that Obama was more commonly treated in the cold-open than Biden: “In the first two years of his presidency, Obama, played by former cast member Fred Armisen, made 18 appearances across 44 episodes, roughly 41% of the time.”
The Fox reporter also noticed that Kamala Harris (previously played by Maya Rudolph, who talked Kamala up as a superhero) hasn’t been included in any cold opens during the Biden presidency, “despite her lengthy track record of gaffes and ‘word salad’ moments from pressers and interviews that have gone viral.” Rudolph has played Kamala in just one mid-show sketch in March 2021
That’s a stark contrast with Beck Bennett’s Mike Pence character, who appeared in ten cold opens in Trump’s first two years in office,