SNL Returns With Presidential Debate Cold Open

by Chris Tognotti

The 42nd season of NBC's Saturday Night Live is finally upon us, after days and days of speculation. How would they tackle the first presidential debate? What would Kate McKinnon's next turn as Hillary Clinton look like? And, of course, how would Alec Baldwin do as Donald Trump? Well, so far, he seems to be doing well ― the reactions to Baldwin as SNL's new Trump have been pretty positive so far.

It's no surprise that a lot of the attention was focused on Baldwin's new foray into the world of Trump mimicry, especially considering McKinnon's Clinton impression is already a tried-and-true winner. To say nothing of the fact that nailing Trump is kind of a comedic imperative at this point ― in the run-up to the presidential election, as absurd as this campaign has often been, it's important to get a few laughs in here and there.

And Baldwin made a strong first impression during the debate cold open. His vocal impression was strong, his makeup exceptional, and maybe the most pitch-perfect part was how little he had to overreach to sell himself as the bombastic GOP nominee. While there were definitely some jokes that went beyond anything Trump actually did during the debate ― calling moderator Lester Holt racist names, for example ― on the whole, the bluster and childish interruptions weren't so implausible. Here are some reactions from social media.

If you missed Baldwin as Trump, never fear, because it'll be posted online before too long ― these last several weeks between now and election day will surely be a hotbed of political comedy, and SNL is going to want as much exposure as possible before the tumult of the race is over and done with. Baldwin is reportedly signed on for the entire season, too, meaning this won't be the last time you see him play this role.

For what it's worth, Baldwin wasn't the only excellent impression on display in the cold open ― finally seeing McKinnon's Clinton again after all these weeks was a breath of fresh air. Hopefully these two will be making hay for the remainder of the 2016 campaign season, because honestly, America needs the yuks.

Image: Saturday Night Live/NBC