Though the cold open for the season premiere of “SNL” mostly elided Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, “Weekend Update” attacked the issue head-on.
Specifically, Colin Jost and Michael Che openly criticized Trump for mocking health and safety protocols and also constantly downplaying the severity of the pandemic throughout 2020, and then told viewers it’s perfectly OK to make fun of him for ultimately catching the disease.
“This news was a lot for us to process a day before we came back on the air after four months off. And it all happened so fast. I woke up yesterday and heard the president had mild symptoms and then four hours later he was getting medivac’d to a hospital in what looked like the last chopper out of Vietnam,” Jost began, referring to how news that Trump was infected with COVID-19 broke after 12:00 a.m. Friday morning.
“I gotta say it’s a bad sign for America that when Trump said he tested positive for a virus, 60 percent of people were like, ‘prove it.’ It’s been very weird to see all these people who clearly hate Trump come out and say, ‘we wish him well.’ I think a lot of them are just guilty that their first wish came true,” Jost continued.
While that appeared to be an attempt to shame people who didn’t have sympathy for Trump, Che then took the topic in the opposite direction. “Yeah, well, you know politics aside, this is awful news for us because Trump was actually supposed to host ‘SNL’ next week.”
“Okay, serious voice. While in the hospital, the president isn’t allowed to see any guests but he is expected to be visited by three ghosts, probably one from his past, one from his– okay, look this is weird,” Che continued. “Because a lot of people on both sides are saying there’s nothing funny about Trump being hospitalized with coronavirus even though he mocked the safety precautions for the coronavirus and those people are obviously wrong.”
“There’s a lot funny about this. Maybe not from a moral standpoint, but mathematically, if you were constructing a joke, this is all the ingredients you need,” Che added. “The problem is it’s almost too funny, like it’s so on the nose. It’d be like if I were making fun of people who have belts and then my pants just immediately fell down.”
“Is anyone surprised by this? I honestly thought Trump was trying to get coronavirus,” Che said a couple of minutes later. “I thought it was like “Groundhog Day” when Bill Murray knew he couldn’t die and he was just trying anything. So all those mask-less rallies Trump was having, that was him being safe? But I don’t want the president to die, obviously. Actually, I wish him a very lengthy recovery.”
“Despite everything, President Trump actually seems to be in good spirits. He tweeted a message that ended with ‘love’ and three exclamation points, so it sounds like they’re cutting his hydroxylchloroquine with a little bit of molly,” Jost said, referring to a slang term for the drug ecstasy.
“And then this is good. Just hours ago Trump released a video from the hospital saying he’s in better health, which is great news,” Jost said, as he brought the topic to a close. “Though I will point out that if the situation were reversed and it was Biden who got sick, Trump would a hundred percent be at a mask-less rally tonight getting huge laughs doing an impression of Biden on a ventilator. Just saying.”
For those wondering why Jost ended the bit with that joke, it’s worth noting that Trump mocked Hillary Clinton when she came down with pneumonia during the 2016 election — and in what remains a difficult to watch display of cruelty from around the same time, Trump also mocked a disabled journalist.
Watch the whole video above.