The Twitterverse was astir today when a skit portraying “hapless buffoon” Joe Biden went viral, drawing laughs, retweets and comical commentary from a multitude of amused wags.
Reminding viewers that it usually is art that imitates life, the parodic Biden — seemingly having just completed a speech — waves from the podium before making a grand show of ambling about the stage and shaking hands with various sections of empty space.
A rather robust and perhaps surprisingly unawkward “Kamala Harris” appears and nervously seeks to direct the confused “president” from the stage, whereupon Biden again veers off instead toward the stage’s rear where he stands with his back to the audience, waving at two flags and attempting to shake their hands. One senses that if Biden didn’t violate the fourth wall, it’s only because he couldn’t find it.
“Its like SNL but people are actually laughing,” tweeted @centerrightblak. Many mirthfully expressed the view that “Saudi Night Live” is much funnier than “Saturday Night Live.” The show, “Studio 22,” runs on Saudi Arabia’s state-run media network MBC and seems to demonstrate that not all party-controlled television is created equal.
It’s not the first time the program has mocked Biden. Nearly a year ago, again doing a job Americans won’t do, it featured a doddering Biden who forgot where he was, forgot names and fell asleep mid sentence, kept on track only by a hovering Harris.
The skit shows some actual attention to real events, as when a freshly reawakened Biden refers to Harris as the first lady, recalling a similar blunder in Biden’s actual past. The satire also took some low-hanging fruit when it had Biden repeatedly fall up the stairs to Air Force One.
The only rain on the parade of laughs and levity came in the form of realizations that the comic mockery came at a time of badly chilled relations between the two nations. Biden came into office amid a time of historic peace in the Middle East, between not just Arab nations and the U.S. but Israel also. Biden’s pleading overtures to Iran were seen as a betrayal.
Later was tension over the gruesome killing of U.S.-based commentator Jamal Khashoggi by de facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, whom Western intelligence officials blamed for the murder. Biden had vowed on the campaign to hold the crown prince accountable.
But that seemed to be forgotten, at least temporarily, when Biden went to see the crown prince and famously greeted him with a fist-bump. This came when Biden was desperate for the Saudis to increase oil production in order to get gas prices down before the midterm elections. But the crown prince rejected Biden’s pleas.
The sketch that aired nearly a year ago came the month after the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates reportedly refused to speak to Biden when he came to urge them to increase oil production.
For today, though, the focus is on the laughs. And looking at the bright side, when it came to securing those concessions, the Saudi iteration of Biden was no less effective than the original.
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