It's been a long time since one cast member on Saturday Night Live has grabbed almost all the attention focused on the show and Tina Fey technically isn't even a cast member right now. But for the third time in four weeks since the show returned, Fey was front and center in the opening sketch as the doppelganger she seems to refine and heighten a little every week, Sarah Palin.

While Fey will deservedly get most of the praise for the cold opening parody of Thursday's vice presidential debate, her co-stars are rising to the challenge when put alongside Fey's folksy and friendly (and now winking) portrayal of the governor. This week it was Jason Sudekis as forcibly good-natured Joe Biden, showering John McCain with praise as a man he would take a bullet for and noting "the way my face lights up when he enters the room," while simultaneously attempting to take him down as a man who "is bad at his job and mentally unstable." Queen Latifah also got in on the fun, popping in to play moderator Gwen Ifill as being restrained in a tight-lipped role because of her ties to Obama.

Elsewhere in the show, Fred Armisen nailed the cartoonishness of Barney Frank in a sketch about the bailout and Andy Samberg took on Mark Wahlberg telling a goat to "say hi to your mother" in a sketch simply titled "Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals."

Up next for SNL is the first of their live prime time election specials this Thursday night. The commercials for that are now sure to include Fey's line of the night in response to a question about gay marriage: "I believe marriage is meant to be a sacred institution between two unwilling teenagers."