'SNL' Takes Jabs at WH Coronavirus Response, SC Primary

Comedian John Mulaney hosted and David Byrne, formerly of Talking Heads, was the musical guest

Saturday Night Live Cold Open
"Saturday Night Live"

The cast of "Saturday Night Live" opened their most recent episode with a double whammy, addressing both the coronavirus outbreak and the messy political season. 

Beck Bennett kicked off the Cold Open as Vice President Mike Pence, explaining that his faith has been shaken by the new virus. 

“President Trump has put me in charge of the coronavirus even though I don’t believe in ‘science',” Bennett’s Pence said. “We’ve assembled a very experienced team of some of the best people left in government.”

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, who said he was finally speaking on a topic he had knowledge of, gave his expert opinion on the coronavirus: “It’s going to be bad.”

Pence is also joined by a motley crew of Democratic primary hopefuls, including Fred Armisen as former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Larry David reprising his role as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“Doesn’t it seem like a good time to have a president’s who competent and capable even if that candidate lacks charisma or ability to connect with human beings?” Bloomberg asks during the Q&A session. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Kate McKinnon) of Massachusetts also steals Pence’s spotlight to continue her self-professed mission of following Bloomberg around and making “his life a living hell.”

“I may be fifth in the polls but I’m number one in your nightmares, boy,” McKinnon’s Warren says as she flicks Bloomberg’s nose.

The two have sparred at debates over Bloomberg’s non-disclosure agreements with some of his former female employees. The skit also played on a moment during the South Carolina presidential debate where Warren accused Bloomberg of saying “Kill it” to a pregnant female employee. When the debate moderator asked Warren for proof Bloomberg actually made the comment, Warren could only say the employee herself said it.

When Warren advises that people use Purell hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of the virus, Sanders questions the product’s claim that it kills 99.99% of germs.

“What happens to the top 0.01% ?” Sanders asks. “Just use good old fashioned bar soap and scalding hot water.”

This week’s host and former “SNL” cast member John Mulaney played former Vice President Joe Biden. "Weekend Update” co-host Colin Jost reprised his role as former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “SNL” alum Rachel Dratch played Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Comedian John Mulaney returned to “Saturday Night Live” for his third run as host. A former cast member and writer for the show, Mulaney left “SNL” in 2012 and has since pursued a variety of projects, including appearing on the popular Netflix animated show “Big Mouth.” 

Mulaney kicked off the evening with a typically hilarious and diverse monologue, touching on why dads don’t seem to have friends, the plights of Julius Caesar and Jesus Christ and being the second choice for a Make-a-Wish recipient.

The “Weekend Update” desk returned to taking jabs at the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, including the president’s press conference to educate residents about the virus.

“I’m not sure it worked because, according to a new survey, 38% of Americans say they won’t drink Corona beer because it sounds like ‘coronavirus,’ while the rest won’t drink it because it taste likes syphilis,” co-host Colin Jost opened.

Jost also said Trump was the worst person to ease people’s fears and compared the hope that the president could do so to hoping that cocaine would ease insomnia.

Michael Che, however, was hesitant to make jokes about the virus, saying, “I don’t know that I don’t have it yet.”

“If I do have it, the Internet’s going to play this clip of me making fun of it over and over again,” Che continued.

Che also got serious and revealed some personal issues as he wondered about his legacy on the show.

Che and Jost also took on the week’s lighter news, including the newly redesigned mascot for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Chris Redd later joined the desk to reflect on Black History Month on the last day of February.

As this week’s musical guest and former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne performed “Toe Jam” with the help of a drum line and dancers clad in matching grey suits. “Toe Jam” was originally released by British electronic band The Brighton Port Authority as a single from its “I Think We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat” album. Byrne composed the song.

For his performance of “Once in a Lifetime,” Byrne relied on a spotlight to cast moving shadows as he stumbled across the stage theatrically. His band and dancers reemerged from the darkness of the back of the stage to help Byene sing the chorus. The song was originally released by Talking Heads in 1980.

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