SNL cold open teases Senate’s Facebook hearing confusion

Facebook logo and in the background, an Error icon (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Facebook logo and in the background, an Error icon (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

Saturday Night Live‘s cold open kept things political once again in season 47 episode 2. SNL presented its version of the Senate’s Facebook hearings, including a brand new take on Senator Lindsey Graham.

The season 47 premiere featured a cold open that took aim at Democrats struggling to unify around President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill. While the Trump administration provided far more material and characters, Biden and his friends showed they can be mocked, too.

For the Kim Kardashian West-hosted episode, SNL went after Democrats and Republicans alike. The cold open drew inspiration from whistleblower Frances Haugen and her testimony about the dangers presented by Facebook.

Ted Cruz, Corey Booker, John Kennedy, and more were all fair game as SNL sent out some of its best performers to mock the Senators. Of course, the sketch also included an appearance by the man behind Facebook himself.

Heidi Gardner did a nice job as the straight character, trying to keep it all together in the face of absurdity. Kyle Mooney’s version of Louisiana Senator John Kennedy also deserves praise. And as always, Cecily Strong nails her part as Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Alex Moffat has a very specific take on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. It’s definitely different from what Andy Samberg used to do on SNL. Moffat didn’t need any lines to still make a strong impression in this sketch.

Pete Davidson as MySpace Tom was a nice touch. A certain portion of the SNL audience certainly appreciated the shoutout to everyone’s first internet friend.

SNL gets a new Lindsey Graham from James Austin Johnson

It’s hard to recall the last time a featured player had such a big role in back-to-back cold opens. But James Austin Johnson has already made a splash in his first two SNL episodes.

Johnson starred as President Biden in the season premiere’s cold open. He inherited a role filled by Woody Harrelson, Jason Sudeikis, Alex Moffat, John Mullaney, and Jim Carrey just last season. Johnson’s impression freed up Moffat to return to Senator Chuck Schumer, one of his stronger characters.

Johnson returned to the spotlight on Saturday night as Senator Lindsey Graham. Fans typically see Kate McKinnon playing the South Carolina senator. However, McKinnon is absent to start the new season — allowing Johnson to prove he’s more than capable of filling in. His version was very different from McKinnon’s opossum-inspired, Southern-heavy approach.

Keep an eye on this SNL newcomer moving forward. His talent for political impressions should make him a valuable member of the cast in season 47.

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