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Much of the conversation around Saturday Night Live’s recent political sketches have revolved around Jim Carrey’s impression of Joe Biden. The pushback from users on Twitter and even from some publications has been pretty strong with many arguing the legendary comedian isn’t the right choice to play the former Vice President and current Presidential Candidate. But is that actually the consensus viewpoint? And is Carrey’s impression the actual problem? Let’s talk it out.
We’ve recently gotten articles in Vanity Fair, The Ringer, The Daily Beast and others that have essentially argued Saturday Night Live has a Jim Carrey problem (or at least a Joe Biden problem). This viewpoint has been further pushed on Twitter where numerous tweets complaining about the impression have attracted several thousand or more likes. The disappointment and at times even frustration often centers around people feeling Carrey is a bit too manic, and that negativity definitely isn’t just coming from a person or two. There are many who feel Carrey’s Biden is not working.
But if you dig deeper and go outside of Twitter, there is actually a fair amount of positivity too. SNL posted the first debate on YouTube. It has been viewed almost 30 million times, and if you head into the comment section, there are a lot of positive takes on Jim Carrey’s Biden. There’s one calling him a natural that has 1400 likes. There’s another calling his casting “ingenious” that has over 2000 likes. There are definitely some complaints about the material, but most of them seem to be directed toward the writing staff for essentially re-telling what happened.
Comedy is subjective. Whether or not an impression is good is entirely a matter of taste, but I still think it’s important to acknowledge there are larger factors in play here too. Putting aside his politics, President Donald Trump is probably the most fascinating political figure in the history of this country. He is an outrageous character that has a non-stop, can’t look away energy surrounding him at all times. Last week’s Dueling Town Halls SNL sketch acknowledged just as much when it had the moderator for Joe Biden’s town hall watching Trump’s on his laptop. Biden is the return to normalcy alternative, and in many ways, he’s intentionally trying to run a very low key and unoriginal campaign.
That doesn’t mean Joe Biden doesn’t have things to make fun of or tease. There’s an old man energy and confusion about him Jim Carrey has played into. He seems to have a bit of an anger bubbling beneath the surface, and much has been made about his uninvited backrubs and random touching. Compared to Trump, however, all of that is positively boring, and that leaves Carrey in a strange position of trying to both accentuate Biden’s quirks while also having to be smaller than Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression.
Personally, I think Jim Carrey has been pretty good with the material he’s been given. He hasn’t given us an all-time amazing impression, but I’m not sure that’s even possible at this point in time. I want to see him continue forward, and I’d like to see how he evolves the impression over time. There are some who want to see Saturday Night Live bring back Jason Sudeikis’ Biden. That was certainly a take that resulted in less negative editorials, but I would argue he had a much easier job playing off impressions of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
What do you think? Is Jim Carrey actually bad at playing Vice President Joe Biden? Is there an issue here or are people just looking for something to complain about? Sound off by voting in the poll below or hitting up the comment section…