Saturday night’s skewering began with new cast member James Austin Johnson playing President Joe Biden recapping the highs and lows of his summer — Broadway shows are back again after the long Covid-related shutdown but “so is the Taliban,” Johnson quipped. “So, win some, lose some.”
For example, “SNL’s” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (played by Melissa Villaseñor) declared she wanted “at least $300 billion in clean energy tax credits,” to which Manchin countered, “And I’m saying zero.” Biden, as the moderator-in-chief, triumphantly responded, “See? Same page!”
While Manchin was portrayed as consistently countering the progressives’ demands, the real comedic villain of the sketch was Strong’s Sinema, whose character was summed up with this funny and poignant line: “What do I want from this bill? I’ll never tell, ’cause I didn’t come to Congress to make friends — and so far, mission accomplished.”
There was even a moment when the progressives, including Ego Nwodim as Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, did reach an agreement with Manchin on funding to improve our nation’s roads. (They had Manchin’s support because that’s where the “trucks live.”) But “SNL’s” Sinema objected, saying “I want no roads.” When a baffled Biden asked why, Sinema defiantly responded with a single word: “Chaos.”
While we can debate what any of these Democrats actually want, the truth about the risky outcome that awaits their bickering is exactly as we heard it at the end of Saturday’s cold open.
“Us Democrats have had each other’s backs no matter what,” said Pete Davidson as former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who then urged the bill to be passed because “just like me, it deserves a second chance. And a third chance. And up to at least 11 chances.”
When “SNL’s” Chuck Schumer appeared, declaring that “us Democrats are all in this together,” Biden echoed that sentiment with the line, “fundamentally, we’re all the same.” To which Davidson’s Cuomo dropped the punchline: “Screwed!”
It was at that point that we heard the iconic opening line, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!” But if Democrats don’t pass some version of the sweeping “human infrastructure” bill, after the 2022 midterms they will likely be screaming, “Dead from Washington, DC, it’s the Democratic Party!”