President Donald Trump may be in the hospital with COVID-19. But that didn’t mean Saturday Night Live pulled any punches against him in the show’s big Season 46 premiere.
After Jim Carrey’s Joe Biden paused the cold open debate sketch to celebrate the “science and karma” that led to this moment, host Chris Rock opened his monologue by addressing the “elephant in the room.”
“President Trump’s in the hospital from COVID and you know, I just want to say my heart goes out to COVID,” the comedian joked.
Rock went on to acknowledge the strangeness of SNL returning to live shows from its New York studio amidst the coronavirus pandemic.”Everybody in this audience has been checked and all week I’ve had things going up my nose, every day I come in here,” he said. “I haven’t had so much stuff up my nose since I shared a dressing room with Chris Farley.”
Later, he explained how he thinks this entire experience should make America rethink its relationship to government. “I think Joe Biden should be the last president ever,” Rock said. “I mean, do we even need a president president?”
“I mean, what job do you have for four years no matter what?” he asked. “Show me one job. Like if you hired a cook and he was making people vomit every day, do you sit there and go, ‘Well, he’s got a four-year deal. We’ve just got to vomit for four more years.’”
“You realize there’s more rules to a game show than running for president? Like Donald Trump left a game show to run for president because it was easier,” Rock joked. “You can’t just throw your son on Jeopardy, or your son-in-law. Steve Harvey can’t put his family on Family Feud.”
But he also criticized Democrats for not doing a better job beating him. “Do the Democrats even want to win?” he asked. “The Democrats just keep putting up 75-year-old people to run against Trump. One thing we can say about Trump, he’s got the most energy of any 75-year-old person on the face of the earth. Even Mick Jagger’s like, ‘Slow down, Donald.’”
“Hey, we’ve got to take this serious,” Rock said. “We’ve got to get out there, we’ve got to vote. But they don’t want us to vote. The government does not want you to vote. Why do I know they don’t want you to vote? Because Election Day is a Tuesday in November.” He added, “If this show was ‘Tuesday Night Live,’ it would have got canceled in 1975.”
Ultimately, Rock ended things with an inspiring quote from James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it's faced.”
For more, listen and subscribe to The Last Laugh podcast.