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Saturday Night Live returned this week with a pandemic-related cold open, this time attempting to explain the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest announcement regarding masks.
This week, the CDC announced eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. Kate McKinnon appeared as Dr. Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for SNL‘s cold open to break down different scenarios for vaccinated and non-vaccinated people.
“It’s your boy Fauci, the patron saint of Purell,” McKinnon’s Fauci said before noting that alongside the news this week that Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck might be a thing again, the latest CDC announcement has Americans both excited and confused.
“To clear things up, I found a few doctors at the CDC who minored in theater to demonstrate correct mask behavior,” McKinnon’s Fauci said, introducing a series of examples such as being at a large gathering outdoors, shopping in a grocery store, or riding public transit in New York City.
For instance, Aidy Bryant and Beck Bennett acted out being inside a bar. When Bryant asked if Bennett was vaccinated, he said he wasn’t, but that should be assumed since he was also walking into a bar at 11 a.m. “You’re right, I deserve COVID,” Bryant replied.
“The real point is we have to trust each other,” McKinnon’s Fauci hastily said, noting that last scene was a bit of a bust in explaining proper mask-wearing.
Alex Moffat and Cecily Strong appeared in another scene where the two were supposed to be at a large gathering. Strong told Moffat there was no need for concern in terms of wearing a mask because they were outdoors, “outside the Capitol building.” The two then rushed off, with Moffat donning a MAGA hat.
“That was a very specific example but accurate in terms of masks,” McKinnon’s Fauci noted.
The scenarios continued to escalate, such as Pete Davidson asking less about mask wearing and more about where he could masturbate on public transit. McKinnon’s Fauci then offered up one final scene showing a group not having to worry about masks at all. But just as the group cheerfully said everything was fine and “as a society, we can talk about anything,” Bennett was quickly shut down for bringing up Israel.
McKinnon’s Fauci ended the sketch by reminding everyone to get vaccinated so they could enjoy not wearing a mask — except for those in the Studio 8H audience.
Keegan-Michael Key serves as this week’s host with Olivia Rodrigo as musical guest. While Rodrigo is making their SNL debut, their viral song “Driver’s License” inspired a sketch back in February with Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page.
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