SNL should make Dana Carvey its new Joe Biden

A treat to cleanse the palate on a slow Wednesday afternoon. Before this, I don’t know that I’d ever seen a truly good Biden impression. (I’ve never seen a great one.) The almost irresistible temptation when impersonating him would be to resort to a broad parody of senility, but that would end up off the mark. Biden rarely seems like he’s so far gone that he doesn’t know what day it is.

But he often seems like his train of thought is perilously close to running off the rails.

That’s one thing that makes Carvey’s spoof good. He’s got Biden’s mien and cadence dialed in well enough but the laughs come from the degree to which he dissolves into casual gibberish. The other clever element lies in which Biden he chose to satirize. Sleepy Joe’s most memorable moments are when he turns into a daffy loudmouth, challenging some heckler to a push-up contest or whatever, but you rarely see that side of him anymore like you did in his younger days. Nowadays we’re more apt to get the soft-spoken, grandfatherly “healer” persona. And that’s the one Carvey has fun with, shrewdly.

SNL should bring him back sporadically to reprise this. I don’t know how many skits can be squeezed from a single joke about the president descending into affable incoherence, but let’s find out.

By the way, if you’re my age and grew up watching Carvey on SNL, here’s a fun fact to make you feel very, very old: He’s not that much younger than Joe Biden himself. In my mind he’s perpetually in the heyday of his early 30s but in reality he’s 65. Consider this clip an amusing memento mori.