There’s no question that Seinfeld is one of the greatest sitcoms ever made. Re-runs still air regularly on some channels, and it’s not really an exaggeration to say that most people have seen at least one episode or know a quote or two from the nine season long series. Seinfeld has been parodied before, but the main cast of actors have never really stepped back into the roles that made them TV icons. That changed last night when Julia Louis-Dreyfus, arguably best known for her role as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld, hosted Saturday Night Live and briefly reprised her greatest role for the cold open.
The sketch started out as usually enough as an SNL political based cold open, this time parodying a debate in Brooklyn between President hopefuls Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Any sketch that features the genius impressions from Kate McKinnon and Larry David is already a winner, with the two of them having played these characters throughout the entire election. The two comedians perfectly embody those farcical characters, and it was great to see them trade barbs and try to one-up each other.
After Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton get into a slap fight over the minimum wage debate and Kate McKinnon’s Clinton makes Sanders “feel the burn,” Beck Bennet’s Wolf Blitzer passes the moderating torch over to Kenan Thompson for the "black question". This was one of the highlights of the sketch as the music changed to smooth jazz and Thompson was backlit by funky purple light. He even came with his own seventies themed graphic.
After that, Wolf Blitzer opened the floor to questions from the audience for the most memorable moment of the sketch. One of these New Yorkers was Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Elaine Benes in full character (including the crazy hair)! She got the opportunity to ask both candidate questions, starting with Bernie Sanders. This was also something of a Seinfeld reunion because it was Larry David who created and wrote the sitcom. The two stepped into a classic Seinfeld routine with Bernie Sanders filling in for the role of George Costanza and basically just doing lots of screaming.
Honestly, this part could have gone better as it was just a retread of old Seinfeld jokes that didn’t really feel organic in the context of the sketch. However, the sketch picked up again when they brought out another New Yorker from the fashion industry, Rachel Greene from Friends! Originally played by Jennifer Aniston, this impression was performed by Vanessa Bayer, who gave a spot on performance. Rachel's question was followed by yet another set from Elaine, which the audience all wanted more of.
I almost wish the whole sketch had been a Q&A with New Yorker sitcom characters (of which there are probably hundreds), but this sketch still managed to bring the laughs.