Saturday Night Live returned with lots of new cast members, and one word is being used a lot to describe the cold open—meta. (See the New York Times, Deadline, and Variety.) The show opened with a Donald Trump sketch, but it included live analysis of that very sketch itself by Peyton and Eli Manning (played by host Miles Teller and Andrew Dismukes) in a spoof of their "Manningast" for football games. (Watch it here.) “Oh good, a Trump sketch,” Teller’s Peyton says sarcastically. “Way to mix it up.” And when he complains about a lack of impersonations of figures such as Anthony Fauci or Rudy Giuliani, Dismukes' Eli reminds him, "Those were all Kate McKinnon," a nod to one of the show's eight newly departed cast members.
The sketch also alluded to the scrutiny of the new and returning cast members as the season starts. At one point, Bowen Yang, playing Chinese President Xi Jinping, deliberately flubs the pronunciation of "corgis," and Dismukes' Eli observes: “It’s a surprising fumble from the veteran Yang. He was supposed to take a step up this year, but you can tell the pressure is getting to him.” In the show, four new cast members made their debuts: Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow, and Devon Walker, per USA Today. The latter outlet also highlights a sketch mocking male celebs (including Adam Levine) being creepy in social media DMs. (Read more Saturday Night Live stories.)