Saturday Night Live took on the Republican lineup of high-profile midterm candidates Herschel Walker, Dr Oz and Kari Lake, skewering them for their lack of experience and extremist ideas even though they have a good chance of winning their races, motivated by their celebrity status.

The Cold Open was a satire on PBS NewsTime, with Heidi Gardner as Judy Woodruff interviewing the three contestants. Throughout, Walker, the GOP candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia, continues to call her “Judas,” as she calmly asks about the campaign.

At one point, Woodruff asks, “A second wife has now claimed you paid for an abortion, and your ex-wife once said you once pointed a gun to her head. Why do millions of Georgians still vote for you?

“Gas,” replies Walker, played by Kenan Thompson.

“Yeah ok. Gas prices are high, but is there more to it?”

“Well, of course it is,” Walker replies. “Listen, I’m fine. If you want to ride the Jumbotron at the game. You don’t put on a cardigan and start to make sense. You take off your shirt and shake your stomach. That’s why I do.

The opening also marked the return of Cecily Strong, who played Lake, the GOP candidate leading the Arizona gubernatorial race. Strong had left to work on another project.

Woodruff notes that Lake, a Trump-backed 2020 election denier, edged out his opponent Katie Hobbs, the Arizona secretary of state.

“Now you were a local news anchor and a Democrat for many years. And yet you win voters. Why?” Woodruff asks Lake, obsessed with the image.

“Because I’m a normal Judy. I’m just a girl from my hometown, constantly blurry and lit like 90s Cinemax softcore. Frankly, I just clicked with a lot of wonderful, terrified old people here in Arizona, West Florida. So I am a fighter. In my life, I have returned more than 2,000 salads, and I am not afraid to do the same with democracy.

Woodruff then reminds him that one of his main problems is his refusal of the 2020 election.

An irritated lake replies, “Can you media types get over the one thing I’ve made the focus of my campaign for months and months. Arizonans want to talk about issues that matter to them – like crime in New York or crime in Detroit, and the most pressing issue, drag queen story time – men dressing as women noisy impertinents introducing children to the joys of reading. Not in my care.”

For the uninitiated, the latter was actually a talking point for Lake’s campaign – and she was upset at being called a hypocrite, as past photos surfaced of her friendship with a well-known drag queen. of Phoenix.

Oz, meanwhile, is now even in the polls with John Fetterman, the Democratic lieutenant governor, who is recovering from a stroke he suffered in May. Woodruff tells Oz that the fact that he’s now in such a tight race “surprises many in the media.”

“I did it,” says Oz, played by Mikey Day. “Let’s remember. I was a longshot, Judy. But I always thought, you could win this election if you’re honest, if you’re fair, and if your opponent has a debilitating medical emergency. So we have a lot of chance.

The sketch was a fairly standard format for a SNL opener, who often spoofs news broadcasts. It also had some really fun lines, though given the craziness of the respective campaigns, it probably could have gone even further. Some of Walker’s actual quotes are so absurd that they look like they were written by a satirist.

In other parts of the opener, Oz offers miracle cures and Walker sparks another bloated controversy, focused on cable news, schools and gender education. “We have babies at school who identify as Pokemon, okay. My son is a boy, last time I checked via text.

The skit also touches on what’s at stake midterm, as voters may be poised to elect candidates who have Trump’s endorsement and haven’t completely distanced themselves from his bogus election claims — or in Lake’s case, actually embrace them. This has generated much concern and warning among anti-Trump Democrats and Republicans that the upcoming vote will be a prelude to attacks on the democratic process in 2024.

“Miss Lake, you’ve proposed big changes to local election laws,” Woodruff says. “If you become governor, do you promise to make sure everyone’s vote counts?”

Lake responds, “Judy, if the people of Arizona elect me, I’ll make sure they never have to vote again.”