It took a while, but America's favorite gravelly-voiced, bespectacled infectious disease specialist has finally gotten the "Saturday Night Live" treatment — from Brad Pitt, no less. The newly-minted Oscar winner donned a gray wig and glasses to portray Dr. Anthony Fauci.
"First, I'd like to thank all the older women in America who have sent me inspiring — and sometimes graphic — emails," he began in the show's cold open segment. "Now, there's been a lot of disinformation out there about the virus, and yes, the president has taken some liberties with our guidelines. So tonight, I'd like to explain what the president was trying to say."
On Trump's claim that we'd have a vaccine "relatively soon": "Relative to the whole history of Earth, sure, the vaccine's gonna come real fast. But if you were to tell a friend, 'I'll be over relatively soon,' and then showed up a year and a half later, well, your friend may be relatively (ticked) off."
On Trump's prediction that the virus would one day disappear "like a miracle": "Who doesn't love miracles? But miracles shouldn't be Plan A. Even Sully tried to land at the airport first."
On Trump's claim that anyone who wanted a test could get one: "Couple of things," Fauci said. "I don't know if I would describe the test as 'beautiful.' Unless your idea of beautiful is having a cotton swab tickle your brain. Also, when he said everyone can get a test, what he meant was, 'Almost no one.'"
On Trump's suggestion that injecting disinfectant could help clean the virus out of the human body: Fauci didn't have a comeback so much as a stunned look.
What about "hitting the body with ultraviolet light?" The camera cut back to Fauci, mid-facepalm. "I know I shouldn't be touching my face but ..."
On the rumor that Trump was going to fire Fauci: After playing a clip in which Trump denied that he was planning to ax the popular public health figure and called him a "wonderful guy," Fauci shrugged. "Yeah, I'm getting fired. But until then, I'm gonna be there, putting out the facts for whoever's listening. And when I hear things like, "The virus can be cured if everyone takes the Tide Pod Challenge," I'll be there to say, 'Please don't!'"
Pitt then removed his glasses and wig to address "the real Dr. Fauci": "Thank you for your calm and your clarity in this unnerving time. And thank you to the medical workers, first responders and their families for being on the front line. And now, live — kinda — from all across America, it's Saturday Night."
The opening credits also got a lockdown update, showing the cast amusing themselves at home with their families – and cats, in the case of Kate McKinnon.
It was a more familiar opening for "Saturday Night Live," which ended its five-week COVID-19 hiatus on April 11, when it aired its first remote episode. That one began with an introduction by Tom Hanks, who became "the celebrity canary in the coal mine for coronavirus" when he went public with his diagnosis exactly one month earlier.
Hanks, whose announcement was one of the shocks that made people realize the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, introduced the episode from his kitchen, where he offered an update on his health. He also had a few jokes, some words of support for health professionals and an explanation of how the show would look very different, having been produced with the cast and crew all at home.
"It's a strange time to try to be funny, but trying to be funny is 'SNL's whole thing, so we thought, 'What the heck! Let's give it a shot.' "
Revisit the first remote episode: Remote 'SNL' looked strange, but host Tom Hanks offered comfort we need during quarantine
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