Saturday Night Live used its cold open to spoof CNN’s presidential town hall on LGBTQ+ issues. The cold open featured host, Woody Harrelson, along with appearances from Billy Porter and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

SNL cast member Alex Moffat portrayed CNN’s Anderson Cooper again. Porter introduced the candidates with his typical enthusiasm. Cory Booker, portrayed by Cory Redd, was the first of the guests to be introduced. The Democrat from New Jersey took the floor stating, “My girlfriend was in ‘Rent’ so yeah, I get it,” a reference to Booker’s girlfriend, actress Rosario Dawson.

Colin Jost, who is rarely in sketches, made an appearance as Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana. An audience member asked Buttigieg a question about being “gay in the right way,” and Jost answered, “There’s no wrong way to be gay. Unless you’re Ellen this week.” The reference was to Ellen DeGeneres, who just last week received backlash for her appearance with former President George W. Bush. 

The sketch reached another level when Senator Elizabeth Warren was portrayed, as usual by Kate McKinnon. McKinnon recreated Warren’s viral answer to an audience member’s question at the forum. The question regarding how Warren would handle someone opposed to same-sex marriage, was answered wittily by Warren, “Well, I’m going to assume it’s a guy who said that. And I’m going to say, then just marry one woman. I’m cool with that. Assuming you can find one.” McKinnon was ready with other comebacks. “I would say, sir, ‘Tell me your bus stop, because I want to know where you get off.’ What else? ‘If someone doesn’t want to serve gay people at their small business, I bet that’s not the only thing that’s small.’”

Lin-Manuel Miranda appeared, depicting Julian Castro telling the voters, “I want to apologize for not being gay, but I promise to do better in the future. However, I am Latino, which we can all agree is something.” Miranda also referenced Hamilton when he spoke of “another man who left his mark on this nation’s history but never became president,” as the beginning of an instrumental version of the Hamilton song, “Alexander Hamilton” begun playing. The music cut out and Castro finished his moment, asking the audience, “vote for me for vice president — president, dammit.”

Finally, Harrelson came out as Joe Biden, parodying his tendencies for misstatements and physical interactions. Harrelson-Biden told his competitors, “Thank you everyone for playing tonight, but we all know I’m your guy.” The sketch was ended with Harrelson-Biden giving Moffat-Cooper a kiss on the lips, followed by a collective, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”

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