Saturday Night Live and Daniel Craig tackle coronavirus head on

The Weeknd, Daniel Craig, and Cecily Strong on Saturday Night Live (Photo by: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC)
The Weeknd, Daniel Craig, and Cecily Strong on Saturday Night Live (Photo by: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC) /

With Daniel Craig as host, Saturday Night Live did its best to find the humor in a health crisis.

As the coronavirus story peaked, it was a long, stressful week in desperate need of some comic relief. Saturday Night Live and host Daniel Craig took it upon themselves to offer just that, turning in a respectable effort that tried to find punchlines in the panic.

As mentioned in Last Night On’s noted in the episode preview, SNL has not been shy about making jokes when it comes to the coronavirus. No show in late night has for that matter. However, programs like Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert have focused more on the response by President Donald Trump than the effects on day-to-day life.

Saturday Night Live looked at the issue from all angles throughout the March 7 show with Daniel Craig. From the cold open to the monologue, from sketches to “Weekend Update,” the number one story in the country was the go-to topic for jokes on the show.

Coronavirus cold open

The headlines from the cold open are all about the surprise appearance by Senator Elizabeth Warren. It came just days after she ended her bid for the White House. Saturday Night Live wasn’t the only late night show that wanted to give Warren a tribute but it certainly made the biggest splash.

But before that it was all about the coronavirus and another chance for SNL to take a shot at Fox News. Kate McKinnon’s version of Laura Ingraham dismisses the hysteria over coronavirus in favor of a laundry list of things she finds far more threatening.

In a time where opinions and ‘takes” are extreme, Saturday Night Live showed both sides of the story when it comes to coronavirus coverage. Things were much different from Fox News over in Modesto…

The Sands of Modesto

The opposite of Laura Ingraham acting like everything is fine is the cast of “The Sands of Modesto” acting like everything is doomed. Playing soap opera stars, Daniel Craig, Kate McKinnon, Chloe Fineman, and Cecily Strong heed every warning and take every precaution to ensure the coronavirus does’t spread.

This sketch was the best of the night when it came to addressing the coronavirus situation. At a time when movie premieres are being delayed, athletes could play in empty arenas, and stores can’t keep disinfectants on the shelves, Saturday Night Live turns it all into an absurd sketch with escalating silliness.

Weekend Update

“Weekend Update” is where SNL fans have found the most coronavirus jokes. It was more of the same this weekend as Colin Jost and Michael Che joined the rest of late night in turning the story around on President Trump. But the main attraction was the return of Cecily Strong’s “Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party.”

This time out, Girl at a Party had a harder time keeping her words straight than normal. Her malapropisms were reminiscent of second-hand news correspondent Anthony Crispino but maybe the coronavirus panic had her drinking a little more than usual.

Girl at a Party was the perfect choice to cover this topic given how everyone online seems to be an expert. Twitter is the online equivalent of a party where it is very easy to start a conversation with someone like Strong’s character.

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The coronavirus story also brought back Debbie Downer and found its way into Daniel Craig’s monologue. As always, Saturday Night Live tried to approach the story with a sense of humor that also didn’t undercut its severity. By looking at it from all angles (including the Ingraham Angle), SNL achieved its goal. What did you think of the show? Let us know in the comments!