8:46pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'SNL' Cold Open Tackles the Coronavirus
NBC's Saturday Night Live parodied a White House press conference addressing the coronavirus in its Feb. 29 cold open.
Beck Bennett initially took center stage for the sketch series as Vice President Mike Pence. Speaking to the media, Bennett's Pence said, "Most of you know me from the phrase, 'Even if Trump was removed, we'd still be stuck with Mike Pence.'"
Kenan Thompson appeared as Dr. Ben Carson, "the brain surgeon they put in charge of house development." Of the coronavirus, Thompson's Carson said: "It looks like this," showing a picture of Stitch from Disney's Lilo & Stitch.
While the cold open did address precautions the public should take regarding COVID-19, such as covering one's mouth when coughing, SNL's cast offered humor alongside health concerns. Bennett's Pence tacked on the precaution of "closing your eyes during intercourse" and Thompson's Carson suggested purchasing a "Make America Great Again" face mask from the White House website.
Former SNL castmember Fred Armisen appeared as Mike Bloomberg. When Bennett's Pence asked him how he got into the press conference, he said: "I just walked in coughing and everyone got out of my way." Kate McKinnon reprised her impression of Elizabeth Warren. "I might be fifth in the polls, but I'm number one in your nightmares," she told Armisen's Bloomberg.
The evening's host, John Mulaney, also appeared in the cold open, playing Joe Biden, who has previously been played by Jason Sudeikis. "Guess who just kicked butt in South Cracker Barrel," Mulaney's Biden said, referencing the former vice president's victory in the South Carolina Democratic primary.
Larry David returned as Bernie Sanders, asking, "What about me possibly winning the nomination, huh? ... I'm having the best week of my freaking life!"
Colin Jost reprised his impression of Pete Buttigieg, and Rachel Dratch showed up as Amy Klobuchar. "Stay out of my center lane, bitch," Dratch's Klobuchar said to Jost's Buttigieg.
Jost's Buttigieg noted that all of the other candidates are "at high risk" for the coronavirus.