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SNL explains the nation’s crush on Anthony Fauci in a vaccine-focused cold open

A re-cast Anthony Fauci returns to talk about the vaccine in SNL’s latest cold open.

Saturday Night Live’s cold open for December 12, featuring Kate McKinnon as Anthony Fauci and Heidi Gardner as Deborah Birx.

For December 12’s Saturday Night Live cold open, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, played by Beck Bennett, addressed the topic on everyone’s minds: The recently authorized Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.

Bennett’s Blitzer — who introduced himself as “an indoor man with an outdoor name” — opened the show with news of the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the vaccine before introducing White House coronavirus task force members Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx.

“It’s just like the PS5,” Bennett quipped of the vaccine. “Everybody wants it, nobody can get it, and if you’re rich, you already had it a month ago.”

Fauci — played this time by SNL’s Kate McKinnon rather than by Brad Pitt — confirmed the good news for Blitzer and announced his decision to join the Biden administration as a chief medical adviser in addition to his current role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“And I think I’ll be joining as well,” Heidi Gardner’s Birx, whose real-world position in the Biden administration is less certain, chimed in. “Remember when Trump said to inject bleach ... and I almost whispered, ‘No’?”

Bennett pressed the pair — who he dubbed “the American Gothic of the whole coronavirus situation” — on vaccine logistics, distribution priorities, and more.

“We’re doing this vaccine World War II-style,” McKinnon said as Fauci. “We made England” — which began vaccinations on Tuesday — “go in first, see what’s what, and then we swoop in at the end and steal the spotlight.”

McKinnon also gave poor marks to the federal vaccine plan, telling Bennett that “this president has done about as good a job with this rollout as I did throwing out that first pitch at the Nationals game.”

In July, a Fauci first pitch went badly askew — which he said at the time was because he spent too long practicing before throwing out the pitch.

After Bennett aired a clip of the real-world Fauci’s pitch, Gardner tried to cheer McKinnon up.

“It’s okay, little guy,” she said. “We all mess up sometime. You threw the ball wrong, I didn’t say, ‘Don’t drink the bleach.’ It happens!”

Throughout the skit, McKinnon was also barraged with thrown bras, a phenomenon which she explained as common because “throughout this whole thing I’ve been the only one saying facts, so some people got a crush on me.”

And the pair offered a variety of regionally tailored vaccine distribution strategies.

“In New Orleans we’re tossing the vaccines up to balconies like Mardi Gras beads,” McKinnon said, and Gardner told Bennett that “North Carolina’s vaccine will be vinegar-based, while South Carolina’s will be mustard-based.”

(There’s a longstanding schism between the Carolinas when it comes to vinegar- and mustard-based BBQ sauces.)

New York, meanwhile, will get vaccine vials that are “very thin on the bottom,” in contrast to Chicago’s “deep dish” vials.

After another bra-throwing event — and an off-screen scream of “marry me” — McKinnon explained her hopes for the vaccine to close the segment.

“If enough Americans get this vaccine, you’ll all forget who I am,” she said. “That’s my goal, to have zero name recognition with Americans because that means I’ll have done my job well. I want to go back to being an anonymous hunk.”

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