Given how influential “Saturday Night Live” was in the last cycle in shaping perceptions of Sarah Palin’s character — Tina Fey won an Emmy for her portrayal — there was a lot of attention paid to how “Saturday Night Live” would size up the feld so far. The verdict: Not bad. Much of the humor spoofed well-worn material: Mitt’s awkward persona, Clint & the empty chair, Obama’s luck. So the show had some catching up to do, with the coming debates providing what may be the freshest opportinities for satire. The highlight on Saturday was the debut of Jay Pharaoh as Obama, replacing Fred Armisen.