A new “Trump”. SNL’s Johnson draws attention for his mimicry

new York – In James Austin Johnson, “Saturday Night Live” has on board a new Impressionist master whose take on Donald Trump over the weekend was an outstanding performance for the rookie.

Johnson nailed a stream of Trump consciousness during an opening segment on Saturday that discussed the election of Republican Glenn Youngkin as governor of Virginia. Critics at Vulture and TheWrap said Johnson “stole the show”, or at least the cold opening.

“‘Saturday Night Live’ finally has a really big Trump impersonator,” wrote Mother Jones’ Dan Spinelli. “Close your eyes and you’ll think new cast member James Austin Johnson is the real thing.”

With Youngkin, played by actor Alex Moffat looking uncomfortable on a split screen next to him, Johnson ran through topics like “Dune,” “Star Wars,” Chris Pratt and Santa Claus in as a subject “countdown” reflecting “Pardon the” of ESPN Interruption “appeared on the screen.

“Most people don’t like him, but he’s a great guy, okay?” Tall, rich, like my sons. Glenn, you’re like my son, ”Johnson said“ Trump ”.

“Please don’t say that,” Moffat replied.

Johnson, a 32-year-old stand-up comic from Nashville, Tennessee, has already impersonated President Joe Biden twice in the season’s five episodes, with Adam Driver, Joe Buck, Jon Gruden, Lindsey Graham and Louis CK start for a new “SNL” player, especially now that the on-air cast has grown to 21 people.

The show did not make Johnson available for an interview on Monday. Even before joining “Saturday Night Live,” he had drawn attention for his mimicry, especially of Trump. A video of Johnson, as Trump discusses Scooby Doo, has received more than 2.4 million views on Twitter since it was posted a year ago.

Of this performance, Vice’s Josh Terry wrote last year that “there is something mind-boggling about the precision with which Johnson is able to channel the president’s cadence, speech patterns and eccentricities. “.

While it is not clear to what extent the news will dictate Johnson to appear as Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” he is clearly the successor to Alec Baldwin, who made his last appearance as Trump. shortly after the 2020 election.

In an interview with Vice last year, Johnson said Baldwin had brought “sheer evil” to Trump’s identity theft.

“A lot of mainstream shows miss how much love there is for Trump,” he told Vice. “In the quest to portray him as the monster that of course I believe he is, they alienate some of the people who would otherwise laugh at their jokes. It’s really hard to laugh at a lot of portrayals of Trump. It doesn’t make you feel good. I really want my comedy to be a balm by being really stupid.

Still, not everyone was happy to see Trump make a “reappearance” on the comedy show last weekend.

Atlantic’s Molly Garber wrote that Johnson’s impersonation is “deeply skillful,” poking fun at Trump’s tendency to make himself unmissable. Still, giving Johnson the platform allowed Trump to distract his attention.

“’SNL, for too long, was so interested in Trump as a joke that it ignored him as a threat,” Garber wrote. The most recent episode “suggests that the show has looked back over previous years – and precisely learned nothing.”