“What about Squid Game? What is that?“
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham made his first appearance in the new season of Saturday Night Live over the weekend, portrayed by new cast member James Austin Johnson.
With long-running SNL comic Kate McKinnon, who has portrayed Graham in recent seasons, away working on a TV series, Johnson made a go at impersonating South Carolina’s senior senator during Saturday’s opening sketch.
And while McKinnon’s version painted Graham as an inscrutable Donald Trump ally over the past few years, Johnson’s rendition seizes on Graham’s arcane-but-quaint wonkishness and trailing-off delivery commonly seen on TV, with a little introspective paranoia thrown in.
Saturday’s cold open centered on last week’s Facebook whistleblower hearing, and Johnson had Graham describing trips into his Instagram Discover page, among other things, as other cast members questioned Francis Haugen (Heidi Gardner) as aging, technologically inept politicians.
“When you open an Incognito window on Google, does that prevent God from seeing what you’re doing?” Johnson asked, as Graham.
Johnson joined SNL this season after earning viral success for his impersonation of former President Donald Trump. (See: Johnson as Trump, talking about “Weird Al” Yankovik.) In last week’s season opener, Johnson also played President Joe Biden and showed off his dead-ringer impression of sports commentator Joe Buck.