‘SNL’ Cold Open: Biden Bids Farewell to Chinese Panda

Saturday Night Live opened with President Joe Biden (Mikey Day) welcoming “Chinese dignitary” Tian Tian (Bowen Yang), one of the three pandas that were transported from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. to China earlier this month.

“I’m honored to be here, but am I the only one that was surprised that the presidents of the two biggest economies in the world met, and everyone’s just like, ‘What’s up with the pandas?’” Yang said behind the presidential seal. “I mean, I get it. I’m hot, I’m smart, I’m alluringly asexual, but there have to be bigger issues, right?”

Biden met this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who indicated that his country will send more pandas to the U.S., calling them “envoys of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples.” After the departure of Tian Tian, Mei Xiang and their cub, Xiao Qi Ji, only four pandas remain in the states.

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This storyline received plenty of coverage–perhaps too much, as SNL‘s sketch hinted at. One reporter’s (Andrew Dismukes) question originally directed at Biden, for instance, took a left turn.

“President Biden, Trump’s team has announced they will replace all federal workers with Trump loyalists. My question is: Panda, did you like America?”

“Honestly, I loved it,” Yang replied. “There’s so much I’m going to miss. Legal weed… Anyway, going back to China, it’s going to be a big change. I mean, I don’t know anyone in China. I haven’t been back since I was a baby, and now I have to make friends as an adult? Yuck.”

Another reporter (Marcello Hernandez) would go on to ask Yang about the Chinese president describing pandas as “envoys of friendship.”


“As the rare person who identifies as Black, white, and Chinese, I feel like I’m in the unique position to unite many peoples of the world,” he explained. “I’m just like another hot ‘blasian’ icon: Tiger Woods.”

Biden closed by noting what he and Tian Tian have in common: “people love sharing videos of us falling down.”