“Saturday Night Live” kicked off its 46th season by facing the leadership turmoil unleashed when President Donald Trump announced he had COVID-19.
The show began with Tuesday’s controversial and chaotic debate between Trump, played by Alec Baldwin, and electoral challenger Joe Biden, played by Jim Carrey.
Fox News’ Chris Wallace (Beck Bennett) opens the contest by saying, “I think I’m going to do a really, really good job tonight. Wallace has been criticized for the way he handled the real debate.
Biden takes the stage and immediately produces a tape measure to check the distance between the lecterns before moving his a little further.
“I’m holding my bladder,” he says. “Let’s go. “
When it’s Trump’s turn, he says, “I’d like to start with a list of complaints. People are mean to me. He then says the coronavirus is a “hoax.”
“This statement is something that will probably come back to haunt me this week,” Trump says.
The president claims he is a champion of law and order – “without exception”.
“Okay,” Wallace asks. “What about your taxes? “
“There must be exceptions, Chris,” says Trump.
Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, makes an appearance to chastise the men. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned tonight, it’s that America needs a woman for president,” said the California Democrat, played by former SNL student Maya Rudolph.
After Trump continues to interrupt proceedings, Biden zaps him with a remote control that pauses the president mid-sentence.
“America, look at me,” Carrey’s Biden says. “Look directly into my eyeballs. You can trust me because I believe in science. And to karma. “
“Now imagine that science and karma could somehow team up to send all of us a message about how dangerous this virus is,” he continues. “I’m not saying I want this to happen. Imagine it.
Comedian Chris Rock hosted the show, which was produced with social distancing and wearing masks backstage. Audience capacity was limited and fans were tested for Covid-19.
Rock said in his monologue that as a result of the show’s testing protocol, he had “more stuff” up his nose this week than when he shared a dressing room with the late cast member Chris Farley in the 1990s.
“President Trump is in the Covid hospital, and I just want to say my heart is going to Covid,” Rock said.
The comedian criticized the American political system, saying that locking up a leader for four years was not ideal.
“What job do you have for four years no matter what? ” he says. “If you hired a cook and he makes people throw up every day, you sit there and go, well he’s got a four year contract?”
Musical guest Megan Thee Stallion had some political criticism, aimed at a message to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who presented a case in Breonna Taylor’s fatal shooting to a grand jury who returned without any directly related charges when he died.
Messages posted on stage behind the successful rapper compared Cameron to black Americans who helped maintain slavery. “Daniel Cameron is no different,” one of the statements read.
The “Weekend Update” news segment got more laughs at Trump’s expense.
Co-host Colin Jost said Friday footage of the president leaving the White House on Marine One evoked the fall of Saigon in 1975.
“It looked like the last helicopter in Vietnam,” he said.
Colleague Michael Che took issue with those who said now is not the time to mock the President because Covid-19 can be so deadly.
“There’s a lot of funny about it,” he says. “Maybe not from a moral point of view, but mathematically, if you’re building a joke, those are all the ingredients you need. “
“I don’t want Trump to die, obviously,” Che said. “I wish him a very long recovery. “
The segment ended with a brief tribute to late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, celebrated on SNL with performances by Kate McKinnon.
The cast member was in the audience in a court robe, hand to heart. A message flashed on the screen: “Stay in power. “