John Mulaney and Jake Gyllenhaal Make Jokes about Coronavirus on SNL Written by Joseph Santiago

March 1, 2020

Like a routine, John Mulaney’s annual appearance on “Saturday Night Live” is becoming one of the show’s most enjoyable traditions.

Over the weekend, he hosted the show for the third time in three seasons.

Mulaney, who was an “S.N.L.” writer is now a stand-up star with ubiquitous comic prowess. He has the ability to make cast members feel less stiff and drop their goofiest material.

This time, some of the co-stars of his latest Netflix special John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch” join in. They include Jake Gyllenhaal and musical guest, David Byrne.

But first: another opening sketch features “S.N.L.”’s now the regular roster of celebrity impressionists playing the Democratic presidential contenders.

This set is the White House and Beck Bennet plays Vice President Pence in a news conference. The segment sees Pence discussing plans and preparations for the widespread outbreak of coronavirus. Pence (Bennett) explains people know him from the sentence: if Trump got removed, we are still stuck with Mike Pence. He adds that the disease has tested his faith, just like dinosaur bones or Timothée Chalamet.

Later on, he brings out Ben Carson (played by Kenan Thompson), who is the housing and urban development secretary. Thompson says this is something he actually knows about and everyone can rest assured it’s going to be bad.

Questions from the Democratic Candidates

Then comes the questions, not from journalists, but from Democratic nominees instead.

Mike Bloomberg, played by Fred Armisen goes first. He asks if it doesn’t seem like a good time to have a competent and capable president. Anyone, regardless of whether that candidate lacks the charisma or ability to connect with other human beings.

Beside him springs up Elizabeth Warren by Kate McKinnon, who explains to Armisen why she would never stop tormenting him. She says it’s her job now, and she’ll follow him around and make his life a living hell. She might be fifth in the polls, but she’ll always be his number one nightmare.

In Woody Harrelson and Jason Sudeikis’ absence, John Mulaney played the role of former Vice President Joe Biden. He boasts, “Guess who just kicked butt in South Cracker Barrel?” He added we’ve got to make sure to get new teeth daily.”

Mulaney also shared an honest-to-goodness true story loosely based on fake events. He talks about palling in South Africa “Green Book”-style with Nelson Mandela.

Larry switches it up with Bernie Saunders

Meanwhile, Larry David returned as Bernie Saunders, happily telling the audience about how universal health doesn’t sound too crazy now. He is delighted by the many precautions imposed by the public health crisis. He is happy no one wants to come near him, much less touch him.

Pete Buttigieg is played by Colin Jost. And Rachel Dratch plays his Midwest rival, Amy Klobuchar.

McKinnon rattles Armisen further with negative details about him. She says he invented traffic and caused McDonald’s to serve spaghetti. Oh, and that he wrote and directed the movie “Cats.”

Meanwhile, David advises people to ignore hand sanitizers. Instead, it recommends good old bar soaps and blistering hot water. Then says he might get in trouble, but one person remembered for his frequent handwashing habits is Joseph Stalin.


In his monologue, Mulaney candidly accepted that he had no new projects to plug (“I have nothing coming up — I’m here to promote the month of March”) and rather used the time to tell jokes on an assortment of topics.

He criticizes about the Founding Fathers and their bizarre prioritizing of the Bill of Rights: “I was in my apartment and the buzzer rang and it was the 101st Airborne,” Mulaney said. “And they said, ‘Permission to live in your house.’ And I went, ‘Third Amendment.’” He also told an awkward joke about Julius Caesar, whom he credited for adding a leap year to the calendar. “Another thing that happened under Julius Caesar was, he was such a powerful maniac that all the senators grabbed knives and they stabbed him to death,” Mulaney said. “That would be an interesting thing if we brought that back now. I asked my lawyer if I could make that joke and he said, let me call another lawyer and that lawyer said yes.”