“A lot of people had questions such as ‘What does that mean?’ ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ ‘Is this a trap?’” cast member Kate McKinnon, who reprised her portrayal of Dr. Anthony Fauci, said at the beginning of the show’s cold open.
McKinnon’s Fauci told the audience a few U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doctors who minored in theater in college had volunteered to clear up the confusion about when masks need to be worn and when they don’t, which of course didn’t clarify anything.
“Hi, we’re four different friends from three different households,” cast member Kyle Mooney, who was joined by Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner and Keenan Thompson, said in one of the scenes performed by the “CDC Players.”
“We’re all half-vaxed and traveling by train from Florida to the U.K.” Day added.
“One of us is old and severely at-risk,” Mooney said.
“And one of us is a baby,” Gardner added.
“How many of us should wear masks and in which order?” Thompson asked Fauci.
McKinnon’s Fauci didn’t have an answer.
The CDC’s new guidance has caused confusion since some states like California and New York have kept mask orders in place and many businesses have as well. Others have expressed frustration because there’s no process to make sure only vaccinated people are removing their masks, essentially meaning unvaccinated people likely won’t have to wear them either.
In another scene, cast member Aidy Bryant, playing a bartender, agrees she deserves to get the virus for believing Beck Bennett, a man coming into a bar at 11 in the morning, would also be a man who chooses to get vaccinated.
“That’s on you,” Bennett tells Bryant.
Other scenes attempting to clarify the guidelines included a couple who realized they didn’t like the bottom part of each other’s faces once they took their masks off and a woman who thought she didn’t need to wear a mask in a store because she’s gay.
At the end of the sketch, several cast members danced together during the CDC’s maskless “vision for the future,” agreeing, “When we come together as a society we can solve anything” – except apparently the Israel-Palestinian issue.
In summary, McKinnon’s Fauci asked everyone to get vaccinated to “enjoy life with no masks. Except [the ‘Saturday Night Live’] audience. You guys have go to keep them on.”
The episode was hosted by comedian Keegan-Michael Key with musical guest Olivia Rodrigo.