Saturday Night Live

‘SNL': Jason Sudeikis Returns as ‘Ghost of Joe Biden's Past' in Cold Open

The "Ted Lasso" star returned to Studio 8H to host "Saturday Night Live" for the first time since leaving the show in 2013

NBC In this photo, Alex Moffat, musical guest Brandi Carlile, host Jason Sudeikis, and Chloe Fineman during Promos in Studio 8H on Thursday, October 21, 2021.

President Joe Biden was visited by the ghost of the more likable Vice President Biden — and briefly by the post-inauguration Biden — during the cold open of "Saturday Night Live."

The opening sketch began Press Secretary Jen Psaki, played by Chloe Fineman, debriefing current Joe Biden (James Austin Johnson) in the Oval Office about his low approval ratings.

"Your CNN town hall was watched by no one and your approval rating is in the dumpster," Fineman's Psaki says.

Johnson's Biden laments his low poll numbers and ponders about the younger Joe that everyone loved.

"I don't understand," he wonders. "People used to like me. The press would call me 'Uncle Joe'. I miss the old me. Where the hell did that guy go?"

Enter Jason Sudeikis playing the happy-go-lucky, aviator glasses-wearing Biden from eight years ago when the commander-in-chief was still vice president and had the "easiest gig in the world."

"How can you be me?” 2021 Biden asks. "You seem so happy, so carefree, so... what’s the word I’m looking for?" 

"Lucid," Sudeikis' Biden quips.

Old Biden then gives the new dejected Biden a pep talk, reminding him that "we may be from different eras, but at the end of the day we're Joe freaking Biden."

In his opening monologue, Sudeikis joked about hosting the variety sketch series for the "first and very last time." The "Ted Lasso" star was hired as a writer on "SNL" in 2003, and starred as a cast member from 2005 to 2013.

Sudeikis continued, “Now for those of you who don’t know, I worked at 'SNL' for 10 years, an ‘actors dozen,’ we say. And it's so neat to be a small part of this show’s amazing history: a history that was fueled for its first 25 years by cocaine and adrenaline, the next 15 years by Starbucks and unhealthy comparisons. And the last six years by… Adderall and fear."

He also expressed astonishment over the success of his AppleTV+ award-winning show, noting that, "It's truly shocking to me because it's built around two things Americans hate: soccer and kindness.”

Sudeikis joked about how people around Studio 8H have asked him for career advice. "I found myself just giving the same advice to every single person. I was like, 'Win an Emmy. And if you can, win two. Double up. It's the best way to do it. It sets you up for success.'”

Taking a more serious tone he said, "This place changed my life, twice. Once as a cast member and writer here. But most importantly as a kid watching from home. And there’s a good chance that if you’re watching tonight, there’s probably something from this place probably changed your life too."

The first pre-recorded sketch of the night starred Sudeikis pretends to be the male version of Ellen DeGeneres in "Mellen."

"All the fun daytime energy of 'Ellen,' with a hard masculine edge," the voiceover in the skit said.

Sudeikis also played a man named "Ricky" in a spoof about the Broadway musical "Annie." In "I Think I'm Gonna Like it Here," little orphan Annie, played by Melissa Villasenor, is introduced to the household staff of Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks. It unfolds through the song that the staff isn't exactly sure what Ricky does, as certain secrets are revealed.

Kyle Mooney and Ego Nwodim are parents meeting with the teacher (Sudeikis) of their kid, Skylar. The sketch leans into the small talk chatter and parent clichés, as Sudeikis and Nwodim begin to hit it off in front of Mooney.

Musical guest Brandi Carlile performs "Broken Horses" off of her new album, "In These Silent Days," which is also the name of her memoir. 

News segment "Weekend Update" had some more fun with Biden's approval ratings and polls.

"President Biden admitted that he hasn’t had time to visit the southern border, though his approval rating has," co-anchor Colin Jost said.

Michael Che mentioned Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and her role in the Biden proposal.

"Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who hates the attention, says she’s opposed to raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for President Biden's agenda," he said. "Finally, someone speaking up for billionaires — because it’s so hard to hear them from space."

Sudeikis brings back his character "The Devil" for "Weekend Update," (the show serving as the Halloween episode), with Colin Jost asking what he has been working on lately.

"So many little side projects," he said. "Earthquakes. Got some killer storms. Instagram for children."

Jost continues to ask if there is anything else he would like to take credit for. "Bitcoin that's all me. Vaping, proud of that one."

Kenan Thompson hosts the (revived!) Halloween-themed skit, "What's Up with That!" with featured appearances from Oscar Isaac (promoting his new movie "Dune"), model Emily Ratajkowski, and "Succession" star Nicholas Braun. Sudeikis makes his return doing his infamous dance moves.

"SNL" returns Nov. 6 with host Kieran Culkin and musical guest Ed Sheeran.