It was just over a month ago that “Saturday Night Live” said farewell to the Trump era,
What followed was perhaps the most historically significant hiatus in the show’s history: In the weeks that followed, America has seen a riot that breached the Capitol; the second impeachment of former President Trump; and the inauguration of President Biden.
How does a late-night sketch comedy show even begin to process this?
“S.N.L.” raised the curtain on 2021 by asking “What Still Works?”, a question posed in the title of a would-be talk show hosted by the cast member Kate McKinnon.
“It’s a new year and we have a new president so some things should work,” she explained. “But do they?”
Her first guest was Cecily Strong playing Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican congresswoman from Georgia who has embraced false conspiracy theories on subjects like the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and endorsed the execution of Democratic politicians on social media before she was elected to Congress.
“You represent the U.S.,” McKinnon said to her in disbelief. “People can Google you and it’ll say she’s a real member of the U.S. government?”
Strong replied, “That might not be the first thing that comes up, but yes.”
McKinnon conducted further interviews with Pete Davidson, playing a man who called himself Derrick Boner and who was identified as the new majority shareholder of GameStop; and with the Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey (Mikey Day) and the Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg (Alex Moffat), who were asked how banning spreaders of misinformation had affected their social sites.
Day replied, “Not well. It seems to have forced those people onto darker, scarier apps where their delusion and bloodlust can run wild.”
Moffat added, “Fundamentally, Facebook still works. Not only does it help form communities online, it has helped people meet and connect in real life. For example, at the Capitol.”
McKinnon also spoke with Kenan Thompson, playing O.J. Simpson, who recently received a vaccine for COVID-19.
A flabbergasted McKinnon said to him, “Among the first 3 percent of all Americans given the vaccine was O.J. Simpson.”
Thompson threw up his hands. “Hey, guilty as charged,” he said. He paused, then added, “About the vaccine.”
Finally, McKinnon interviewed the guest host John Krasinski, who was playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who has been friendly with Trump in the past.
McKinnon lavished praised on Brady for helping to lead his team to the Super Bowl and asked if many Americans would be rooting for him next weekend.
“Almost no one,” Krasinski said.
McKinnon said that she, at least would be supporting him, and added, “It’s not like you’re a weird Trump guy or anything, right?”
Rather than answer the question, Krasinski stood up from his chair and said, “Thanks for having me.”
WATCH: SNL What Still Works Cold Open