‘Saturday Night Live’ Sends Up Fauci and Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout

‘Saturday Night Live’ Sends Up Fauci and Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout

While the pandemic has made Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, a highly visible figure in American life, “Saturday Night Live” has been circumspect about satirizing him in comedy sketches. When Fauci first turned up as an “S.N.L.” character this past spring, during one of the show’s remotely produced at-home episodes, he was given a mostly glowing treatment and played by none other than Brad Pitt (after Fauci himself had made the suggestion in a CNN interview).

Presumably Brad Pitt had other commitments this weekend — instead, the “S.N.L.” cast member Kate McKinnon added another role to her ever-growing roster of celebrity and political impressions and played Fauci in the show’s opening sketch.

McKinnon was joined by Heidi Gardner, playing Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, as they explained to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (Beck Bennett) how Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine, newly approved for emergency use, would be distributed to the American public.

Following some applause from the audience, McKinnon said, “Let’s try to keep the woos to a minimum, please. As you all know, woos spread droplets.”

McKinnon proudly announced that “the vaccine is approved and I am officially joining the Biden administration to continue the fight against Covid.”

With some hesitation, Gardner added, “And I think I’ll be joining as well, right? Remember when Trump said to inject bleach and I did a stanky little face? And I almost whispered, ‘No’? Remember?”

McKinnon said that “we’re doing this vaccine World War II-style,” and further explained: “We made England go in first, see what’s what. And then we swoop in at the end and steal the spotlight. Tom Hanks will make 10 movies about it and when it’s all over you can kiss any nurse you want.”

Asked by Bennett to evaluate Trump’s performance during the pandemic, McKinnon answered, “I try not to comment, but this president has done about as good a job with this rollout as I did throwing out that first pitch at the Nationals game.” “S.N.L.” played video of Fauci’s pitch from July, which markedly missed home plate. (We’re not saying we could do any better.)

McKinnon’s Fauci explained that the ultimate aim was a return to relative anonymity.

“If enough Americans get this vaccine, you’ll all forget who I am,” McKinnon said. “That’s my goal, to have zero name recognition with Americans. Because that means I’ll have done my job well.”

She added, “You have my promise that no matter who is in charge, I’ll do everything possible to ensure that you are able to see your loved ones safely once again.”

Gardner chimed in: “And I’m taller.”

Celebrity Bellwether of the Week

Sometimes an “S.N.L” sketch offers a helpful snapshot of which famous figures its cast members deem worthy of being impersonated at a particular moment in time. That was the primary role fulfilled by “The Dionne Warwick Talk Show,” which featured Ego Nwodim as that enduring pop singer and newly-minted star of social media.

While she didn’t necessarily recognize who most of her guests were, Nwodim played host to Harry Styles (played by Chalamet), Billie Eilish (played by Melissa Villaseñor and introduced as “Ms. William Eyelash”), Machine Gun Kelly (Pete Davidson) and, in a neat bit of meta-commentary, Timothée Chalamet (played by Chloe Fineman as an exuberant goofus).

Weekend Update Jokes of the Week

Over at the Weekend Update desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che riffed on the Supreme Court’s swift rejection of a lawsuit, filed by the Republican attorney general of Texas and supported by numerous G.O.P. officials, that vainly sought to undo the results of November’s presidential election.

Jost began:

Guys, I’ve got to be honest. I’m beginning to think that Donald Trump didn’t win this election. This week, the Supreme Court dismissed two different Trump lawsuits to overturn the election results. They were the first rulings by the Supreme Court that were just the eyeroll emoji. Don’t worry, Trump isn’t throwing in the towel because he’s been a fighter his whole life. At least that’s what it looks like on his brain scans. I just love how the media keeps telling us, OK, this time, it’s over. Nothing is ever over as long as Donald Trump can make money off it. Even when he dies his tombstone is just going to have his Venmo info. Also, he’s a billionaire and he keeps asking his supporters for five dollars. Isn’t that just sad? It’s like saying, for the price of a cup of coffee a day, you can help a desperate old man pretend he’s still president.

Che continued:

The Texas lawsuit asked the Supreme Court to invalidate election results in four other states. Which is a plan so crazy, only Texas would try to execute it.

Many Black doctors are saying that they are having a hard time convincing their patients to take the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Which is weird, because Moderna Vaccine is my favorite Tyler Perry character.

Fake Cable Channel of the Week

Pivoting off the insurgent success of cable channels like Newsmax, which have supported President Trump’s false claims that he won the election, “S.N.L.” introduced us to a new companion channel, Sportsmax, where failing New York sports teams like the Jets and the Knicks somehow find ways to emerge victorious.

As a sports anchor played by Alex Moffat explained, “A lot of mainstream sport networks like ESPN are saying that the Jets have not won a single game this year, that they’re 0 and 12.” A commentator played by Bennett added that this was “is very interesting because the truth is, the Jets have already won 11 games this season.” Revisiting an October matchup that the Jets lost to the Buffalo Bills, Bennett said, “After the first quarter, the Jets were winning the game 3 to 0. But then something very suspicious happened. The Bills start getting all these points out of God knows where. Either the Jets won, 3 to 0, or this whole game’s rigged.”

Musical Performance of the Week

It’s been a long week, a long month and an especially long year. So here, to offer a few minutes’ respite from reality, are Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band with a rousing rendition of their song “Ghosts.” (They also came back later in the program to deliver an equally stirring performance of their song “I’ll See You in My Dreams.”)

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