“Saturday Night Live” got into the swing of election season with several political sketches that mocked such happenings as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s gaffes and Clint Eastwood’s much maligned Republican National Convention speech.

The 38th season got under way with a sketch featuring President Obama’s admission that the country was indeed troubled. Obama (played by Jay Pharoah, a change from the past few seasons which has seen “SNL” stalwart Fred Armisen impersonate the commander in chief) acknowledged that times were tough in this country, but that he believed he would still win the election thanks to his secret weapon: Mitt Romney. The speech then cut back and forth between Obama and a campaign appearance by Romney (played awkwardly as ever by Jason Sudeikis), in which the former Massachusetts governor insulted a gay veteran (which really happened, by the way), botched “Old MacDonald” (and apologized to the audience for not knowing the animal sounds), and painfully attempted to high-five a double amputee. Along the way, the audience received a glimpse of Paul Ryan (played by Taran Killam), who attempted to clarify that he couldn’t actually do 100 hundred situps in five seconds as he had previously stated. (He’s bad at numbers, he explained, before changing the subject to the budget.) With this opening sketch, the undying comedy program, which has a long tradition of political humor, got off on the right foot.

Another standout in the “SNL” political arena last night was the program’s hilarious sendup of Eastwood and that chair from the actor/director’s convention speech. (Of course you knew “SNL” would take on the most talked about speech of the entire GOP nominating convention.) Bill Hader once again donned his high-waisted pants while portraying the gruff and eccentric legend in a traveling show called “Eastwood and Chair.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: two hours of Eastwood onstage and unscripted with the other half of the touted comedy duo, Invisible Obama. The faux show also features appearances by other politicians, including Invisible Michael Bloomberg, Invisible Chris Christie and Invisible Jimmy Carter.

— Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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