On ‘S.N.L.’, John Mulaney and Jake Gyllenhaal Find Humor in the Coronavirus

The annual appearances of John Mulaney, who this weekend hosted “Saturday Night Live” for the third time in three seasons, have grow to be one in every of the present’s extra pleasant traditions in this present period of its historical past. The presence of Mulaney, the former “S.N.L.” author turned stand-up star and ubiquitous comedian talisman (“Oh, Hello,” “Documentary Now!”, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”), appears to assist loosen up the solid members and deliver out their goofiest materials. And this time, he had additional assist from some co-stars of his newest Netflix particular, “John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch,” together with Jake Gyllenhaal and this week’s musical visitor, David Byrne.

But first: one other opening sketch that includes “S.N.L.”’s now acquainted roster of celeb impressionists enjoying the Democratic presidential contenders.

The phase was set in the White House, the place Vice President Pence (performed by Beck Bennett) was holding a information convention to debate preparations for a widespread outbreak of coronavirus.

Bennett defined, “Most of you know me from the sentence: ‘Even if Trump was removed, we’d still be stuck with Mike Pence.’” He added, “I have to admit, this disease has been quite a test of my faith. Just like dinosaur bones or Timothée Chalamet.”

He introduced out Ben Carson (Kenan Thompson), the housing and city improvement secretary. “This is something I actually do know about,” Thompson stated, “and rest assured, in my expert opinion: It’s going to be bad.”

Then got here the questions — not from journalists however from the Democratic nominees.

Fred Armisen, enjoying Mike Bloomberg, requested, “Doesn’t it seem like a good time to have a president who’s competent and capable, even if that candidate lacks charisma or the ability to connect with human beings?”

Alongside him sprung up Kate McKinnon, as Elizabeth Warren, explaining to Armisen that she would never stop tormenting him. “It’s my job now,” she stated. “I follow you around, make your life a living hell. I might be fifth in the polls but I’m number one in your nightmares.”

In the absence of both Woody Harrelson or Jason Sudeikis, the function of former Vice President Joe Biden was performed tonight by Mulaney, who boasted, “Guess who just kicked butt in South Cracker Barrel?” He added, “If we want to fight China Cough, we’ve got to be smart. We’ve got to make sure to get new teeth daily.” He additionally shared what he stated was “an honest-to-goodness true story based loosely on fake events” in which he and Nelson Mandela “were palling around South Africa, ‘Green Book’-style.”

Larry David as returned as Bernie Sanders, who fortunately informed the viewers, “You’ve got to admit, folks — universal health care doesn’t sound too crazy now, does it?” He appeared delighted by the many precautions imposed by a public well being disaster: “Nobody wants to come near me, much less touch me. I’m in heaven.”

Colin Jost performed Pete Buttigieg (“I’m a candidate, too, for the next three days”) and Rachel Dratch appeared as Amy Klobuchar, his Midwest rival (“I’m from Minnesota so I will cut you — in line, at Target.”)

McKinnon continued to rattle off unfavorable particulars about Armisen: “He invented traffic,” she stated. “He was responsible for McDonald’s serving spaghetti. He wrote and directed the movie ‘Cats.’”

Meanwhile, David discouraged folks from relying readily available sanitizer. “Just use good old fashioned bar soap and scalding hot water,” he stated. “Now, I might get in trouble for saying this, but you know who was great at washing his hands? Joseph Stalin.”

In his monologue, Mulaney freely admitted that he had no new initiatives to plug (“I have nothing coming up — I’m here to promote the month of March”) and as a substitute used the time to inform jokes on a wide range of subjects.

He complained about the Founding Fathers and their unusual prioritizing of the Bill of Rights: “I was in my apartment and the buzzer rang and it was the 101st Airborne,” Mulaney stated. “And they said, ‘Permission to live in your house.’ And I went, ‘Third Amendment.’” He additionally informed an ungainly joke about Julius Caesar, whom he credited for including a bissextile year to the calendar. “Another thing that happened under Julius Caesar was, he was such a powerful maniac that all the senators grabbed knives and they stabbed him to death,” Mulaney stated. “That would be an interesting thing if we brought that back now. I asked my lawyer if I could make that joke and he said, let me call another lawyer and that lawyer said yes.”

In his first outing as an “S.N.L.” host, Mulaney resurrected a protracted dormant musical parody, “Diner Lobster,” and helped make it a viral sensation. Last yr, he adopted that up with “Bodega Bathroom.” And for his three-peat, there’s … no matter the heck this sketch is, a few man (Pete Davidson) making an attempt to purchase questionable sushi from a vendor (Mulaney) at La Guardia Airport.

As is custom, Davidson’s problematic act triggers every kind of sendups of Broadway musicals, together with Thompson as the Phantom of La Guardia and a passenger performed Gyllenhaal, sporting pajamas and levitating with the assist of a harness, as he sings a music set to “Defying Gravity” about how a lot he loves airport safety.

Over at the Weekend Update desk, the anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che continued to riff on the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Appearing as himself, Chris Redd lamented that this had maybe not been the most profitable Black History Month, because it had been overshadowed by extra urgent information developments, like the emergence of the coronavirus.

“I know people that wear protective masks that don’t wear condoms, and that’s wild to me,” he stated.

Looking at the narrowing area of Democratic presidential hopefuls, Redd stated, “Kamala gone. Cory Booker gone. Which means me in debate sketches gone.” He checked out latest controversies, like a Visa debit card bearing the illustration of Harriet Tubman making a “Wakanda Forever” salute (“It looks like she got recaptured,” he stated. “She didn’t see ‘Black Panther,’ Wakanda’s not real”) and a canceled plan by Barnes & Noble to publish traditional novels with new covers emphasizing folks of shade. (“Black Frankenstein looking like a SoundCloud rapper that got beat by the police,” he stated.)

Redd requested if Black History Month may get a do-over later this yr. “I know March is women’s month so we’ll take April and we’ll start on the 2nd,” he stated. When Jost requested him why it wouldn’t begin on April 1, Redd replied, “Nah, y’all keep that day, boy. April Fools’ is how y’all got us over here in the first place. ‘It’s just a cruise, hop on.’”

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