Live from New York, it’s a wealth of cold open guest cameos!

Politics are always a rich source of inspiration Saturday Night Live, perhaps nothing more than presidential debates — and with Democratic primary season in full-swing, the venerated sketch show is jumping into the mix with Cold Opens that parody many of the top Democratic candidates.

Saturday night was no exception with a cold open that sent up Thursday night’s CNN Equality Town Hall 2020 — and brought on several beloved faces to infuse the opening sketch with a new energy. Namely, Billy Porter as himself doing a sort of hype-man intro for each of the candidates and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Secretary Julián Castro.

Many of the show’s favorites were back, including cast members Kate McKinnon with her sterling Elizabeth Warren impression (sadly she did not mention her EW Ballers interview) and Colin Jost as Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Woody Harrelson, who hosted the season opener a few weeks prior, also returned to the cold open as Vice President Joe Biden (does this mean Jason Sudeikis has forsaken the gig?).

Pose’s Porter took to the stage in a hot pink brocade jacket and matching sparkly glasses to introduce the candidates with quips like “He may live in the projects, but ladies, he ain’t no project” about Senator Cory Booker. As Booker, Chris Redd joked, “My girlfriend was in Rent so, yeah, I get it,” referring to Booker’s ongoing relationship with actress Rosario Dawson and the musical’s LGBTQ themes and characters.

As Castro, Miranda parodied the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development’s tendency to drop Spanish non-sequiturs into his debate responses. The multi-hyphenate entertainer then segued into a joking attempt to insert a Hamilton reference into the proceedings. “There was once another man who left his mark on this nation’s history, but he never became president,” he said, before launching into the opening number from the Pulitzer-Prize winning musical. Sadly, Alex Moffat’s Anderson Cooper cut him off within a few notes, saying, “Seriously?”

Watch the clip above for more. Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT on NBC.

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Episode Recaps

Saturday Night Live - Season 42
Saturday Night Live

The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Michaels.

  • TV Show
  • 47
  • TV-14
  • Saturdays at 11:30 PM
  • Lorne Michaels
  • NBC
stream service