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‘SNL’: Kate McKinnon plays Dr. Fauci as the game show host of ‘So You Think You Can Get the Vaccine’

Kate McKinnon played Dr. Anthony Fauci on this week's "Saturday Night Live" cold open.
Kate McKinnon played Dr. Anthony Fauci on this week's "Saturday Night Live" cold open.NBC

In this week’s opening sketch of “Saturday Night Live,” Kate McKinnon reprised her role as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, to host the game show “So You Think You Can Get the Vaccine.”

Touching on the widespread confusion over the COVID-19 vaccine rollout nationwide — primarily, just who can get inoculated and when — contestants vied for eligibility in front of a panel of embattled governors.

“Getting the vaccine shouldn’t be a competition, but Americans will only want to get it if it means someone else can’t,” McKinnon said, then introducing the trio of governors facing political turmoil of their own who would be determining whether a contestant could get the shot or not.

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The panel included California Governor Gavin Newsom (played by Alex Moffat), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (played by Pete Davidson), and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (played by Cecily Strong).

Newsom was described as being “hated by every single person in California.” Meanwhile, Cuomo’s nursing home controversy — a topic brought up in last week’s cold open — was highlighted, along with recent allegations of sexual harassment against the governor. And Whitmer’s attempted kidnapping by a group of anti-government extremists angry over her coronavirus policies was resurfaced.

Because eligibility for the vaccine is not consistent across the country, each governor shared who is prioritized during their respective state’s rollout. For instance, in California, it’s “police, hospital staff, neuropaths, and psychics,” Moffat said. But in New York, it’s “tough guys, wise guys, rich guys, and ‘Five Guys,’” Davidson said.

One by one, contestants were then brought on the show to argue why they deserve to get the vaccine.

Those vying for the shot included a woman from Michigan who said she voted for Whitmer “to get kidnapped” and that her pre-existing conditions were having “a really bad attitude” and herpes, a woman pretending to be an elder, and an expectant mother who the judges admitted were not sure if she could safely receive the vaccine.

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Texas Senator Ted Cruz (played by Aidy Bryant) also stopped by the show, fresh off his appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Cruz, who faced serious backlash for abandoning his constituents for a family vacation in Cancún while Texas was suffering a disastrous storm, again ignited controversy this week with a comment about the trip during the conference.

“Senator Ted Cruz performing talent of stand-up comedy show. Oh, it is great to be back in New York City,” Bryant began. “I’m sorry. My arms are tired because I just flew back from Cancún, Mexico. But can you really blame a brother for wanting some sun?”

Bryant continued: “Uh oh, uh oh. Here comes my catchphrase that I spent all day yesterday screaming. Are you ready? Here we go now: Freedoooooom!”

Bryant then dropped the mic.

The only contestant resoundingly awarded approval to receive the vaccine from the governors was Seymour Foreman (played by Mikey Day), an 85-year-old retired Army doctor who is now “just the world’s proudest granddad.”

But upon being told he was eligible, confusion highlighting common problems about accessibility — such as the ability to sign up for an appointment — ensued.

“You can’t get it here. You got to make an appointment online,” Davidson said.

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“On what? Oh, no. How do I do that?” Day asked.

“Do you have a computer?” Moffat inquired.

“For Spider Solitaire,” Day answered.

“Well, is there a young person who could help you?” Strong followed up.

“Perhaps the mailman,” Day said.

“Now does he have three straight days to help you click refresh?” Davidson asked.

“I don’t think he does. He seems busy,” Day replied.

“Aw, so close. Better luck next time,” Strong concluded.

Watch the full cold open:





Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.