“Saturday Night Live” returned from its winter break this weekend with a lot of ground to cover. In the time since its last episode aired before the holidays, Donald Trump was still president and the nation had not yet been rocked by a deadly siege on the US Capitol that he incited.
So in the show’s opening sketch after more than a month away, star Kate McKinnon hosted a faux TV talk show program and pondered the question on everyone’s mind: “What still works?”
“It’s a new year, and we have a new president [Joe Biden], so some things should work,” McKinnon said. “But, do they?”
And based on her findings, only one thing is for certain: Tom Brady, the former New England Patriots quarterback and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, can still be relied on to get the job done.
Newton native John Krasinski — director of “A Quiet Place” and star of “The Office” — hosted the show for the first time, and played Brady in the cold open. The actor has long been a staunch supporter of the football player, who is again heading to the Super Bowl.
The first guest on the sketch was Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, a freshman representative from Georgia who has amplified dangerous conspiracy theories, peddled baseless election fraud claims, and denounced coronavirus pandemic safety measures — among other things.
Greene, who was played by Cecily Strong, is facing mounting calls from Democrats in Congress to be removed from the House of Representatives amid a flurry of alarming moments that have come to light recently.
After Strong’s Greene said she believed that both the Parkland shooting and 9/11 were a hoax, that she has told her “supporters that they should physically murder Nancy Pelosi,” and that the California wildfires were “caused by Jewish space lasers,” McKinnon came up with a quick conclusion regarding the government.
“So government doesn’t work,” McKinnon said.
Next up was the stock market. “That usually works, right?” McKinnon asked. The question arrived on the heels of GameStop’s stock surge shaking Wall Street, and stories about the Massachusetts man who kicked off the whole phenomenon.
Pete Davidson was brought on as “Derrick Boner,” the new majority shareholder of the video game retailer.
“First of all, it’s called the stonk market,” Davidson quipped. And after another confounding discussion, McKinnon again arrived at the same conclusion as before.
“So the stock market no longer works,” McKinnon said.
Then Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, played by Mikey Day, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, played by Alex Moffat, were brought on the scene to review social media, which “some might say it never worked,” McKinnon said.
After going over the attack on the Capitol, the use of Facebook and Twitter by Trump supporters and conservatives to spread lies and incite violence, and the rush of those who have been suspended onto even darker platforms, McKinnon reached a familiar conclusion: social media does not work.
The next topic was the vaccine rollout, and to find out whether that is working, OJ Simpson joined the show. Simpson was played by longtime cast member Keenan Thompson. Simpson recently posted on social media about getting vaccinated.
“Teachers can’t get vaccines, but you did?” McKinnon said. “People with long-term lung conditions can’t get the vaccine, but you did? So among the first 3 percent of all Americans given the vaccine was OJ Simpson.”
And, much like before, McKinnon concluded: “So the vaccine rollout — it doesn’t work.”
So, what does work?
Well, according to Saturday Night Live — and probably a considerable portion of his loyal New England fans — Tom Brady still does.
Krasinski, donning a No. 12 Buccaneers jersey, joined the show as Brady to discuss his upcoming 10th Super Bowl appearance.
“You went to historically one of the worst franchises in football, and in your first year you took them all the way to the championship,” McKinnon said.
“That’s right, but it’s really a team effort,” Krasinski began.
“No, no, don’t even try it. No one believes there is anyone else on the team,” McKinnon interrupted. “My point is, you still work?”
“Yeah,” Krasinski replied.
“You’re supposed to win football games, and you just keep winning football games,” McKinnon said.
“Yeah,” Krasinski answered.
“You might be the only thing in America that still works,” McKinnon said.
“Yeah,” Krasinski responded.
“So I guess everyone must be rooting for you, right?” McKinnon asked.
“Almost no one,” Krasinski said.
Watch the full sketch below: