We’ve seen actor Brad Pitt made up to look like an old man. He did so in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. During the cold open of Saturday Night Live Pitt wore a wig and presented himself as Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci’s wish that Brad Pitt plays him on a show like SNL came true. Just a couple of weeks ago, CNN’s Alisyn Camarota delivered one of her hard-hitting interviews with Fauci (yes, that’s sarcasm) and asked the 79-year-old medical scientist which actor he would choose if SNL did a skit using him as a character – Ben Stiller or Brad Pitt. He chose Pitt. Pitt was once named People magazine’s Sexiest Man of the Year, after all. Fauci has a healthy ego and didn’t even hesitate with his answer. And, just like that, two weeks later it happens.
In the show’s second “At Home” episode due to the coronavirus pandemic, the cast members and guests performed from their own homes instead of in the studio together. The cold open is usually a hit or miss exercise in comedic expression but Saturday the show went with a scornful, sarcastic fact check-style dialogue from Brad Pitt. Pitt sat behind a desk as he critiqued statements President Trump has made during coronavirus task force press briefings. The skit was a mix of real video of the president and Pitt’s reactions as Fauci. As he began to explain what President Trump “was trying to say”, he delivered a funny statement, unintentionally bringing a little humor to the skit when he said, “And remember, let’s all keep an open mind.” There is no such thing as an open mind among the cast of SNL or most of its viewers when it comes to President Trump.
The NBC late-night sketch comedy show cut in real-world footage of Donald Trump’s speeches about coronavirus, starting with his claim that he had had some great meetings and there would be a vaccine “relatively soon.” To this, Pitt as Fauci clarified that “relatively soon is an interesting phrase. Relative to the entire history of Earth? Sure, the vaccine is going to come real fast. But if you were to tell a friend, ‘I’ll be over relatively soon’ and then showed up a year and a half later, well, your friend may be relatively pissed off.”
He also had “a couple of things” to say about the state of tests. First, he said he didn’t know if he would describe the test as “beautiful — unless your idea of ‘beautiful’ is having a cotton swab tickle your brain.” Additionally, he wanted to point out that “almost no one can get a test.”
About that “almost no one can get a test” statement – plenty of folks in the entertainment industry seem to be able to get tested while the regular folks can’t. Starting with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, lots of celebrities have announced on social media the results of their tests.
And, of course the president’s remarks about light therapy and disinfectants were brought up.
Pitt as Fauci had no verbal response to Trump’s musings about injecting disinfectant to “knock out” the virus, just a dumbfounded look. And he facepalmed — even though he knew he “shouldn’t be touching [his] face” at the idea that you could stop the virus by hitting the body with light.
At the end of the bit, Pitt took off the wig and thanked Fauci for his “calm and clarity during this unnerving time.” He also thanked medical workers and first responders for their work.
It is interesting that rumors of Dr. Fauci’s termination were touched on. That rumor has been going around because Fauci sometimes answers medical questions differently than statements delivered by Trump. The president even re-tweeted a tweet with the hashtag #FireFauci once. But, so far, Trump denies that Fauci will be fired from the coronavirus task force.
Of the roughly 50 press conferences on the health crisis so far, Fauci had only missed a handful. But now, for the first time since regular press conferences began on the topic, Fauci was only present for one of seven briefings this week.
While Fauci gave media interviews throughout the week, his absence at the podium Friday was notable given the president’s controversial remarks a day earlier about using light and disinfectants to possibly treat the deadly respiratory illness.
And though Fauci regularly shares his decades-long infectious disease knowledge publicly, one administration official suggested there’s a preference that Fauci do more of that behind closed doors so it doesn’t appear he’s on such a different page from the president.
“You are here in a certain role, you’ve got to give advice privately,” this official said.
Remember back in the day when Saturday Night Live was funny? The original cast has been unmatched by later casts. The show is now in its 45th season. It is well past its prime.