When "Saturday Night Live" returned to NBC for its season 46 premiere on Oct. 3, 2020, Jim Carrey made his big debut as Joe Biden. We loved watching the iconic comedian portray the former vice president-turned-Democratic presidential candidate — and watching Maya Rudolph return to guest star as his vice presidential running mate, Kamala Harris, weeks after she won an Emmy for her work as the senator on "SNL" last season. To celebrate the sketch-comedy show's debut, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at some of the bold-faced names who've memorably portrayed politicians on "SNL." Keep reading for more…
Let's start with the other star who's famously portrayed Joe Biden on "Saturday Night Live" — Jason Sudeikis. The funnyman left "SNL" in 2013 after 10 seasons on the show, but he's returned several times since then to portray the former VP and current Democratic presidential candidate, as well as another former presidential candidate: Republican Mitt Romney.
In 2017, Alec Baldwin won an Emmy for his portrayal of President Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live." He scored another nomination for his work as the reality star-turned-politician in 2018.
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Kate McKinnon memorably portrayed former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton opposite Alec Baldwin's Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live." Around the time the former FLOTUS ran for president, Kate won two Emmys for her work on "SNL." But HRC isn't the only famous woman in politics whom the comedian has impersonated on the long-running sketch-comedy show…
Kate McKinnon also portrayed Senator Elizabeth Warren on "Saturday Night Live." She even got the stamp of approval from the progressive Democrat, who appeared alongside the comedian on "SNL" in early 2020 amid her run for president.
Iconic! In 2009, Tina Fey won an Emmy for portraying Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live." The conservative politician — who was the Republican nominee for vice president during the 2008 election — even stopped by the set to watch the comedian in action. She was pictured hanging out backstage with "SNL" boss Lorne Michaels as Tina did her thing in October 2008 — mere weeks before the election.
The Hillary to her Sarah! Tina Fey's longtime pal and collaborator, Amy Poehler, has portrayed Hillary Clinton on "Saturday Night Live" more than any other actress. In September 2008, the duo teamed up to bring two of the most iconic women in politics to the small screen. Around that time, Amy scored two Emmy nominations for her work on "SNL."
Jay Pharoah portrayed President Barack Obama on "Saturday Night Live" until his tenure with the show came to an end in 2016.
In a bit of casting that just wouldn't fly today, Fred Armisen portrayed President Barack Obama on "Saturday Night Live" during his time as a main cast member on the long-running sketch-comedy show. (He handed off the reins to Jay Pharoah in 2012.) Over the years, Fred has also portrayed President George H. W. Bush and recent presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg.
Comedy. Gold. Will Ferrell unforgettably portrayed President George W. Bush on "Saturday Night Live" during his time as a main cast member in the early aughts. (He's seen here opposite Dean Edwards as Secretary of State Colin Powell, Seth Meyers as General Richard Myers and Maya Rudolph as National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice.) Around that time, he scored an Emmy nomination for his work on "SNL."
Phil Hartman was the first person to play President Bill Clinton on "Saturday Night Live." He portrayed the saxophone-playing politician in the early '90s until he left "SNL" in 1994 — the same year he scored his first Emmy nomination for his acting on the sketch-comedy show.
After Phil Hartman left "Saturday Night Live," Darrell Hammond took over as President Bill Clinton. He's portrayed the politician ever since — even though he hasn't served as a main cast member since 2009. (Yep, Darrell even portrayed Slick Willie on season 45 of "SNL" in early 2020.)
Larry David frequently brings the LOLs to "SNL" as Bernie Sanders. He started playing the Vermont senator on "Saturday Night Live" in 2015 — the first time the progressive politician ran for president. The "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star scored an Emmy nomination for his efforts. (The Bernie look-alike is pictured alongside Jason Sudeikis as Joe Biden and Rachel Dratch as Minnesota Senator and former presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar.)
Dana Carvey portrayed President George H. W. Bush on "Saturday Night Live" for more than a decade between 1987 and 2000. He even won an Emmy in 1993 for his work as Papa Bush.
In the late '70s, original "Saturday Night Live" cast member Chevy Chase memorably portrayed President Gerald Ford as an accident-prone klutz. The comedian won an Emmy in 1976 for his impersonation of Ford, who shot a cameo for "SNL" that very same year.
Another original "Saturday Night Live" cast member who portrayed a president? Dan Aykroyd! The iconic comedian played Richard Nixon in the late '70s. He's pictured along with the late, great John Belushi as Nixon National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.
In 2020, co-head writer Colin Jost portrayed South Bend, Indiana, mayor and former presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on "Saturday Night Live."
Kristen Wiig portrayed Nancy Pelosi on "Saturday Night Live" from 2006 to 2011. She left "SNL" the following year — after scoring her fourth Emmy nomination for her work on the long-running sketch-comedy show. (Kate McKinnon has portrayed the speaker of the house in recent years.)
Beck Bennett has portrayed Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell on "Saturday Night Live" in recent years.