Confused by COVID? Do not take advice from Saturday Night Live. If you need a laugh, though? Do watch Kate McKinnon‘s Dr. Fauci try to rein in an increasingly bananas press conference during this weekend’s cold open.
This is McKinnon’s first episode back since last season’s finale, having been away filming Peacock’s Tiger King movie in Australia – which is the most 2021 thing that will ever exist. And not even the rare instance of a combination guest host/musical guest (Billie Eilish is both this week) can draw your attention from how much fun McKinnon’s having now that she’s back.
Dr. Fauci introduces CDC employees who (badly) act out “tutorials” where losing your vaccine cards means banishment to the woods, air travel acts as contraception (“I don’t know, King – let’s find out!”), and Santa brings back the infamous Nicki Minaj tweet about her cousin’s friend in Trinidad. (“They’re as big as grapes now!”).
Things get worse when Andrew and Chris Cuomo (played by Pete Davidson and Andrew Dismukes, respectively) come out to blame their recent firings on the pandemic. (Incorrect!) Then Lauren Boebert (Chloe Fineman) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Cecily Strong) come out to blame the pandemic on communism. Aidy Bryant’s Ted Cruz arrives last, to crow about being maskless at Bob Dole’s funeral.
Through it all though, McKinnon’s joyous grin turns everything Dr. Fauci says into a miniature giggle fest. Her interaction with Bryant’s Cruz is a good reminder that, along with Strong, the show currently has maybe the strongest contingent of female performers its ever had, and we’ll miss them dearly once they’re gone.
Watch the complete video above, and share your thoughts on the Dec. 11 SNL.