The cold open on the latest “SNL” surprisingly had President Joe Biden’s back. Not only making the point repeatedly that the American media is focused on trivial matters at the expense of reporting on the substance of election issues, but also letting Tian Tian the Panda run interference for super awkward press questions.
Of course, the fact that Tian Tian was played by Bowen Yang was a major asset to the sketch, which also featured Mikey Day as Biden.
Watch some of it below now:
The sketch was inspired by the meeting Biden had with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and started with Day’s Biden holding a White House press conference, where he declared that the “President Xi meeting was a total win. Sure, made agreements about communication, climate change, but most importantly we’ve got the thing America really needs right now: More pandas.”
This led to various “SNL” cast members playing representatives of America’s major media outlets, all asking questions that were focused on mainly trivial things — the personal drama of the meeting or Biden’s age.
“Mr. President, and congratulations on your historic and productive Summit. I have a question,” one reporter asked. “You’re old.”
After a few more questions like this, Day’s Biden moved to distract the room by inviting “a giant panda” out, which turned out to be Yang’s Tian Tian.
“Oh, that’s so sweet. Thank you. No need to say ‘giant’ again, really more slim fit,” Yang said. “I’m honored to be here, but am I the only one who was surprised that the presidents of the two biggest economies in the world met and everyone’s just like, ‘What’s up with the Pandas?’ I mean, like, I get it, I’m smart. I’m alluringly sexual.”
Tian Tian, for those who haven’t been paying attention, is a male giant panda that has been featured at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. for years but returned to China this week. Asked about that, Yang’s Tian Tian complained he hasn’t been to China since he was a baby and that he didn’t want to make friends as an adult.
“How can I Panda Express this? I just want to eat bamboo,” Yang’s Tian Tian said, “and not have sex.” That of course was a reference to the difficulty getting panda’s to reproduce.
Watch a clip from the cold open in the video above.