A Saudi TV satire show aired a skit mocking the U.S. administration with two actors playing the roles of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
The video clip was posted to Twitter by Asaad Sam Hanna, an International Affairs Fellow at Columbia University, and has gone semi-viral. Hanna wrote, “for the first time I see the Saudi TV mocking the U.S. administration.”
The actor playing Biden falls asleep a few times during his minute-long speech and seems confused about his surroundings. Harris, also played by a male actor, often whispers in his ear to remind him what to say. She also tries to wake him, poking him with her elbow. At the end of the scene, Harris’ character drags the unconscious president out from the stage, as she calls on the audience to “Clap for the president, right now!”
The skit drew many responses from Arab and American audiences, comparing the show to a Saudi version of Saturday Night Live. The clip was also furthered shared by some Israelis on social media.
The conservative outlet, The Daily Caller, shared the clip, saying: “WATCH: Saudi Arabia TV makes fun of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and honestly it’s funnier than SNL.”
One commentator wrote: “Throughout the Trump presidency we were told that foreign governments were laughing at him.”
Another profile said, “This is how the world, and Saudi Arabia, now sees America.”
One comment read: “So glad we have international respect again. America is back.”
The comedy show, called Studio 22, is aired by the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), a leading pan-Arab news and entertainment channel. It is also available to viewers on the streaming on-demand service Shahid. The MBC media group is owned by the Saudi government. It was launched in London in 1991 and later moved to its headquarters in Dubai in 2002.
Ever since Biden assumed office, the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia has taken a turn for the worse. Biden referred to the Saudi monarchy as a “pariah” in one of the Democratic primary debates in 2019 and vowed to take a hardline approach against the Kingdom.
In November 2020, the Al Arabiya news channel, also part of the Saudi MBC media group, ran an image of Biden with his dogs with the chyron reading “the dogs are back at the White House.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as oil prices reached a seven-year record price above $100 per barrel, the Biden administration has made diplomatic overtures towards the Saudis to get them to pump more oil in order to ease supply and reduce global energy prices. The Wall Street Journal reported in early March that both Saudi Arabia and the UAE refused to take the call from the White House in protest over Washington’s response to Iranian-backed Houthi attacks on their territories.