SNL: Katie Britt cold open lives up to the hype thanks to Scarlett Johansson

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Saturday Night Live had the challenging task of coming up with a cold open that everyone knew was coming. But SNL's Katie Britt sketch lived up to the hype, getting a major assist from Scarlett Johansson.

As Senator Katie Britt of Alabama delivered the Republican response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union Address, it became immediately clear it wasn't going well. The senator's overacting and breathy speech from her speech became a punchline on social media.

Even if you didn't watch Saturday Night Live, you knew that the long-running sketch show would have something to say about Britt's performance. Just days away from air, SNL now had to deliver on the public's expectations.

And that's exactly what SNL did during the March 9 cold open. Ego Nwodim introduced the show as CNN's Abby Phillips before giving Mikey Day a brief spot as President Joe Biden. But in a bit of meta-comedy, Day's Biden admitted that everyone wanted to see Senator Katie Britt.

Enter Scarlett Johansson as Senator Katie Britt. The Oscar-nominated actress made her sixth Saturday Night Live cameo and her first SNL appearance since hosting in 2019.

Using a cameo for Britt wasn't all that surprising; it's been SNL's go-to move since the Trump years. But Britt delivered her speech on Thursday, giving Saturday Night Live only a couple of days to cast the role and call in a favor. The fact the Academy Awards were the next day could have also made it harder to find a star.

Some predictions believed SNL would keep it in the family. Cecily Strong, Kristen Wiig, and Vanessa Bayer were popular picks to play Katie Britt. Instead, SNL went with a different type of family connection by bringing in Scarlett Johansson.

Johansson absolutely delivered as Katie Britt. The talented actress challenged herself by playing someone overacting to a distracting degree. Parodying something already so absurd is no easy task, but Johansson had it down from the start. SNL also had to come up with material that hadn't already been retweeted thousands of times or shared on TikTok.

Lines like "women love kitchen," "we hear you, we see you, we smell you," and "I am going to get weirdly seductive for no apparent reason" stood out. The Get Out reference and QVC graphics provided another nice touch, proving Saturday Night Live can still add something even when the material is ridiculous.

SNL cold opens have been guilty of going for applause rather than laughs with its political comedy. But here, Johansson and the writing leaned into how weird Britt's speech sounded. The only downside is that the GOP likely won't put Britt front and center again, denying SNL fans another Johansson cameo.