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Candidates get feisty in 'SNL's' second presidential debate

October 21, 2012|By Claire Zulkey

New "SNL" cast member Aidy Bryant may wish that CNN correspondent Candy Crowley was a more high-profile part of the 2012 presidential campaign. After lurking in the background of the new season, especially compared with breakout new cast addition Kate McKinnon, the Second City actress finally got the chance to appear front and center Saturday night as she introduced the episode’s cold open (and closed it by delivering the show’s classic introductory line.)

Not surprisingly, the second presidential debate was the topic of the cold open. “SNL” writers poked fun at the debate’s audience members who fumbled when delivering their questions town-hall style, but especially mocked the candidates for their markedly combative tone as the two candidates bickered, interrupted each other and argued about the rules of the debate. “This isn’t Colorado anymore, governor; this is sea level!” warned Jay Pharoah as Barack Obama. “I wanna fight you! I wanna fight you so bad!” Jason Sudeikis-as-Mitt Romney proclaimed.

The most pointed moment of the sketch, however, was the briefest. When posed the question about what each candidate would do to cut back on the street availability of assault weapons, Sudeikis replied, “Uh, nothing,” while Pharoah answered, “I would also do nothing.”

There was another point in the evening where politics got almost serious for a moment. During "Weekend Update," Seth Meyers delivered a joke that more than implied that the reason rural voters prefer Romney to Obama is due to plain, old-fashioned racism on the voters’ part. The mood was quickly lightened, however, thanks to the return of Bill Hader’s beloved culture reporter Stefon, who could barely make it through the piece thanks to the performer’s near-debilitating laughter.

Overall, host Bruno Mars shined whenever he sang (one sketch was simply written around him covering various other artists) but is otherwise unlikely to supplant Justin Timberlake as the consummate double-threat of host/musical guest. Many are already looking forward to the show’s next guest, however: On Nov. 3, the show returns live as Louis C.K. hosts with musical guest Fun.  

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