Decades after the comedian's big break on In Living Color, Jim Carrey is returning to sketch comedy as a cast member for Saturday Night Live. When the new season premieres on October 3rd, Carrey will play the role of Vice President Joe Biden in the 46th season of the long-running series. Carrey will be the latest actor to play the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Presidency, taking over the role from popular former cast member Jason Sudeikis. As the weeks lead up to the election in November, it's likely Carrey will appear in many opening skits alongside Donald Trump actor Alec Baldwin.
In addition to adding three others as featured players, executive producer Lorne Michaels explained the decision to add Carrey for the new episodes.
"There was some interest on his part. And then we responded, obviously, positively. But it came down to discussions about what the take was," Michaels said in an interview with Vulture. "He and Colin Jost had a bunch of talks. He and I as well. He will give the part energy and strength, and … [Laughs.] Hopefully it's funny."
Other new cast members include Lauren Holt, Punkie Johnson, and Andrew Dismukes.
Michaels also explained that the series will film in front of a limited live audience, a surprising move in the era of COVID-19. Audiences and live reactions are foundational to the Saturday Night Live production, and it was noticeable when the quarantine SNL at Home episodes were aired on NBC.
"We need the audience, obviously. With comedy, when you don't hear the response, it's just different. With the kind of comedy we do, which quite often is broad, timing gets thrown off without an audience," said Michaels. "And for me, what is most important is when you're absolutely certain of some piece on Wednesday, and then the dress-rehearsal audience sees it on Saturday and tells you you're wrong. . . .I think us coming back and accomplishing the show will lead to — I hate to use the word normalcy — but it's a thing that is part of our lives coming back, in whatever form it ends up coming back. So the physical problems of doing it — number of people who can be in the studio, number of people who can be in the control room, how you separate the band so that they're not in any jeopardy — all of those are part of the meetings we've been having"
Saturday Night Live kicks off Season 46 on NBC on October 3rd, the first of five back-to-back episodes that will air leading up to the election.