It took him three veeping weeks, but Jim Carrey was actually pretty funny as Joe Biden on “Saturday Night Live” this time.
Before tonight, I would not have bet on the actor budging a centimeter.
The first two episodes of the season creaked along like an Amtrak train as the famous funnyman, 58, leaned too heavily on his physical comedy schtick from “The Mask” to play a 77-year-old and was stuck in a mediocre sketch in which his DNA became combined with the vice presidential debate fly.
But Carrey waved good-Biden to his failures in the latest “SNL” cold open that took aim at this week’s “dueling town halls” — with Biden speaking to voters and George Stephanopoulos on ABC and President Trump appearing on NBC with Savannah Guthrie.
His Biden zingers, at least, tickled.
A voter in the audience asked the former vice president what his plan for coronavirus was.
“Unlike the president, I have plan,” Carrey’s Biden replied.
“What is it?” pressed the confused voter.
Carrey shot back, “It’s a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something.” Solid “Who’s On First?”, set ’em up, knock ’em down stuff.
Piling on, Carrey also sang “It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood” while donning a red sweater, and later turned into TV painter Bob Ross.
“You see, each tree has its own personality, just like America. Does that answer your question?,” Carrey said, not answering the question.
None of this was incisive or notably smart, but the comedy show finally acknowledged Biden’s personality, instead of merely boosting his candidacy like a socially distant pep rally. Carrey was consistently fun to watch.
Alec Baldwin’s crummy Trump, however, remains a textbook case of plus ça change. As usual, none of the actor’s one-liners or pursed-lips mannerisms got guffaws. The writers seem more lost than ever on how to handle the president humorously.
His main gag was mispronouncing names: he called Guthrie “Serengeti” and judge Amy Coney Barrett “Conan O’Brien.” That’s recycling what Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush used to do much more lovably 20 years ago.
Baldwin’s Trump doesn’t work because it’s never risen above an impression to become a fleshed-out character. His irritating take has worn thin during this administration because the actor wears his contempt for the president on his sleeve. The actor is persistently awkward, and his moments all fell flat tonight.
The sketch ended with a WrestleMania bout — folding chairs and all — with Kate McKinnon’s combative Guthrie. Terribly clichéd.
Some say Baldwin, 62, has no other option than what he’s doing because of the president’s big personality. But it can be done.
The best Trump impression ever belongs to a British drag queen named The Vivienne who appeared on “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.” It’s a knowledgable, quick-witted, lived-in performance.
Baldwin should go to YouTube and learn from that drag queen, instead of being a drag.