NBC late-night comedy show Saturday Night Live delivered a cold open featuring a crazed Joe Biden raving that the latest Spider-Man movie caused the coronavirus omicron outbreak, as reporters peppered him with questions about his massive economic failures and the crashing and burning of his legislative agenda.
For the first new episode of 2022, SNL’s James Austin Johnson gave us his doddering, whispering Joe Biden impression, commanding the nation: “There’s one simple thing you can do to make this whole virus go away: Stop seeing Spider-Man.”
Johnson’s Biden went on lamenting, “This virus has disrupted our lives. It’s canceled holidays, weddings, quinceañeras, gender-reveal parties, wildfires that started as gender-reveal parties.”
But there was one big reason why the virus is still vexing America, Johnson added — the box-office hit Spider-Man: No Way Home.
“Now, think about it. When did ‘Spider-Man’ come out? Dec. 17. When did every single person get Omicron? The week after Dec. 17,” Johnson said as the president.
The sketch then moves on to questions by reporters during which one asks if Biden is really saying that the coronavirus outbreak is due to people seeing a movie, or because there is a serious lack of testing supplies to be had.
“You want to know if you have COVID?” Johnson’s Biden rambles. “Look at your hand. Is it holding a ticket that says you recently went to see Spider-Man? If so, you have Covid.”
Biden then spins off into rumination that there really is a multiverse, and he has consulted with Dr. Fauci and Dr. Strange about it all. The sketch then takes another turn toward the bizarre, as cast member Pete Davidson comes out in sunglasses and white hair claiming to be Joe Biden “from the real universe,” while the one we are living in was “created as a joke starting in 2016 when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.”
Johnson’s Biden wonders if he wins the White House in the “real universe,” upon which Davidson replies, “Of course not. Do you think you would lose four times and then finally win when you were 78?”
Johnson’s Joe finally says he is off to the “real universe” and he’ll be back after he passes the Build Back Better budget there, but Davidson says, “Dude, even in the real universe, that’s not passing.”
Among the bits in the rest of the episode, were several musical theater skits featuring guest host and West Side Story star Ariana DeBose, and a bit turning the ’90s sitcom Family Matters into a gritty reality-based show where family father Carl Winslow (Kenan Thompson) is a sadistic Chicago cop and nerdy Steve Urkel (Chris Redd) is abused by his drunken mother.
Davidson and Chloe Fineman did a send-up of obnoxious mom and pop store chain commercials seen on New York television, there was also a takeoff on local cable airings of boring press conferences of local officials, and the series also took its first stab at a spoof of New York City’s new mayor, Eric Adams as performed by Chris Redd. The show also featured another COVID sketch spoofing the NBA in which a game between the Nets and the Kings fell apart midway through because the entire Kings team tested positive for the virus.
Alum Will Forte is set to host next week’s show with musical guest Måneskin.
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