In this week’s cold open, SNL alum Chris Parnell (who you might also know as 30 Rock‘s Dr. Leo Spaceman) returns to play PBS’s Jim Lehrer, moderator of Wednesday’s presidential debate. SNL‘s debate spoof hinges on what seems to have emerged as the general consensus: Lehrer was inarticulate. Obama seemed distracted. Romney won. This sketch, however, delves into the key reasons for Obama’s aloofness: he forgot to get the First Lady a gift for their 20th anniversary, and the slip was seriously stressing him out. Also, the thin Colorado air was making him a bit woozy.
While new resident POTUS Jay Pharoah once again nails Obama’s timbre and verbal tics, one could argue that Mitt Romney (played by Jason Sudeikis) quietly overshadows — much like in the real debate. When Pharoah speaks early on — in his perfectly Obama-esque way — Sudeikis’s subtly hilarious facial expressions and eyebrow movements somehow manage to steal the show.