Kate McKinnon Returns To ‘SNL’ As Dr. Fauci In Holiday Cold Open – Deadline

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“I’m back!” declared Kate McKinnon as Dr. Anthony Fauci in the opening seconds of Saturday Night Live tonight to a roar from the audience.

“Do we both still think I’m sexy or are we done with that,” added the late-night MVP in her beloved role as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director and first time back on SNL this season.

Off this fall shooting her Joe Exotic series for streamer Peacock, McKinnon’s already announced return was a welcome relief after many a flameout of a cold open this 47th season of SNL. However, the rest of the skit went south pretty quick for a while as the show had various other cast members playing CDC staffers acting out frequently asked Covid-19 holiday questions in this season of Omicron variant. “They are not professional actors, they’re simply nerds trying their best,” McKinnon’s Fauci explained, but honestly the SNL cast are professional actors and they were acting badly badly.

Until the increasingly dependable (not two words you would have once put together) Pete Davidson showed up as “disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo” and Andrew Dismukes as “disgraced former CNN host Chris Cuomo.” “We both lost our jobs because of Covid,” the elder Cuomo declared in a very elongated expression of the truth and the sexual harassment scandal that toppled the once high-flying princelings.

A clear-as-day case of less is more, the SNL Cuomos — as you can see in the video above — were the highlight of the cold open beyond McKinnon’s return. Sadly, the political mocking went downhill as fast as Joe Biden’s poll numbers the past 12 months. Cecily Strong and Sarah Sherman as gun-wielding GOP congresswomen Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert were cringe-inducing enough easy marks, but Aidy Bryant’s Ted “the weirdo with the beardo” Cruz was just a network time killer in action.

“We can all agree that the Fox News Christmas tree arsonist must be executed,” proclaimed Strong’s bummer deluxe Rep. Greene as almost everyone in the skit crowded together to share holiday good wishes. Well, if some of the folks over at Murdoch HQ had their Christmas wishes come true, that last one-liner might be more fact than fiction.

Back after a Thanksgiving hiatus and creator Lorne Michael becoming a Kennedy Center honoree, tonight’s SNL is also the first one since President Biden quipped about the late-night show trying to nail down someone to permanently play him in skits. Standing up among a room full of the best and brightest, frequent SNL host Steve Martin loudly offered to take on the gig as Biden praised Michaels at a White House ceremony for Kennedy Center honorees earlier this week.

“Steve, I’m afraid you understand me too well,’ POTUS shot back at past Kennedy Center honoree Martin to peels of laughter.

Joining the tradition of sorts of the Rolling Stones, Quincey Jones, Paul Simon, Justin Timberlake, Desi Arnaz, Miley Cyrus, Donald Glover (with the Atlanta star’s Childish Gambino alter ego), Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Harry Styles, Debbie Harry, Adele, Taylor Swift, Chance the Rapper among others, Billie Eilish is both the host and the musical guest on tonight’s SNL, the eighth episode of the show’s 47th season.

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