8:45pm PT by Trilby Beresford
'SNL' Cold Open Tackles Vaccine Rollout, GameStop, Government, and Asks: "What Still Works?"
In its first episode of 2021, Saturday Night Live asked in the cold open: "What Still Works?" in America.
"And now it’s time for What Still works," said host Kate McKinnon, introducing the first topic as the U.S. Government. "Already I have my doubts, she said. The first guest was U.S. representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, played by Cecily Strong.
The Parkland shooting was among topics covered, along with the idea that 9/11 was a hoax and the presence of lasers in space. "Those are things you believe?" said McKinnon, referring to the list as "hateful and psychotic things."
"The government doesn’t work," concluded McKinnon.
Next topic was stocks, featuring Pete Davidson as the majority shareholder of GameStop, Derrick Boner, talking about the stocks. He wore a gold chain with a dollar sign. "I put all my money in GameStop and I can’t lose," he said.
"People download all their games now so we’re kind of like…" he trailed off. McKinnon filled in the sentence with "a dying business"? Davidson went on to say that rapper Ja Rule invested in GameStop.
Other topics included social media, with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, played by Alex Moffat and Mikey Day. They talked about suspending the accounts of politicians who spread lies and incited violence.
Next topic was vaccine rollout, with Kenan Thompson playing O.J. Simpson. Another topic was Tom Brady, played by host John Krasinski. "Are you the only thing in America that still works?" asked McKinnon.
That interaction prompted Twitter users to post numerous gifs of their characters Jim and Pam, from the NBC show. It was not a surprise when his monologue featured The Office as a theme.
In the absence of Pam, Davidson stepped in to fill her shoes. "I think we've got to give them what they want," he said, which led to a kiss between the two men, in character as Jim and Pam.
Another sketch during the episode saw Krasinski playing a police officer in Georgia, where the topic of "alt-gender" restrooms was discussed.
"You have an "alt-gender restroom" asks Davidson's character. "Uh-oh, Sheriff, I think your cousin thinks we're all crazy Christian types." Davidson quickly says, "Oh no I never said that, and even if you are, it's fine, I'm Jewish."
GameStop came up again in more detail, with Strong declaring in a sketch that it's "been a wild week on Wall Street." Krasinski played an economist who said, "Power to the people." Behind him was an artwork titled "Restless sinner."
In Weekend Update, Colin Jost declared, "A lot has happened since our last show, the inauguration, Christmas…." He then said, "And now the terrorist watch list includes diversity," alluding to the Capitol riots.
Jost later compared GameStop to the 2013 magic-themed heist movie Now You See Me. The segment mentioned U.S. Senator Rand Paul, who Jost said looked like "Kevin Spacey as an elderly woman."
While talking about how a highway collapsed in California, Jost said, "I hate to agree with Marjorie Taylor Greene, but I think it was space lasers." Beck Bennet appeared as Mike Lindell, who was banned from Twitter for spreading voter fraud lies.
Another sketch featured a game show called Supermarket Sweep, which host Krasinski described as "Jeopardy for food." Contestants were quizzed about grocery items.
At the end of the episode, the late Cicely Tyson — who died earlier this week — appeared on screen in an SNL tribute.
Of course, the episode also featured Krasinski performing an alternative theme song for The Office.