On Wednesday night a star was born. When a fly landed on Vice President Mike Pence’s head during the debate against Sen. Kamala Harris, it was a moment that took over Twitter for the rest of the week. Naturally, the fly had prime screen time during “Saturday Night Live’s” Oct. 10 cold open sketch about the debate — but rather than cast someone new in the role, the late-night sketch comedy show hypothesized that it was Joe Biden (Jim Carrey) who teleported to the debate in order to “save the soul of this nation.”
The sketch began simply, with Kate McKinnon portraying debate moderator Susan Page and saying they would be debating a “who cares number of topics,” Beck Bennett portraying Pence, and Emmy winner Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris, entering by double-fisting cans of Lysol. (The “SNL” set did include the plexiglass barriers between candidates, or as McKinnon’s Page put it, “buffet-style sneeze guards on account of, one of you works for patient zero.”) The first question was for Bennett’s Pence, who stalled when asked about the pandemic and then yielded the remainder of his time — only to interrupt Rudolph’s Harris half a sentence in, to allow her to deliver the other debate moment that took over social media this past week: “I’m speaking.”
Addressing COVID, Rudolph’s Harris noted the current administration said they wanted to keep Americans calm, but “how calm were you when you didn’t know where you were going to get your next roll of toilet paper? How calm were you when you were staring at that cardboard tube when you finished the roll and thought, ‘Well it’s technically paper?’ And how calm were you when even that tube was gone and you looked at your old tee shirts and a pair of scissors and thought, ‘Are we doing this?'”
She noted that she wanted to hear the vice president’s response, so while he spoke, she only planned to “smile at him like I’m in a TJ Maxx and a white lady asks me if I work here.”
She did, but then she switched to “more of a Clair Huxtable side-eye” and eventually fixed her face in a way “every Black woman knows exactly what I’m thinking — and a few of the white women and all of the gays” as he said things like, “President Trump puts the health of all Americans way ahead of his own personal and financial gain” and “enough about COVID, let’s talk about the two things Americans do care about: swine flu and fracking.”
When asked about the president’s health, Bennett’s Pence said he was only taking aspirin, which he always takes, as well as some steroids, “a woman’s probiotic for balance and 60 CCs of helium into his skull so his head doesn’t fall over on TV. … He’s also taking Viagra for morale and some horny goat weed he bought at a gas station because the president believes in medicine, unlike Senator Harris who said that she wouldn’t even take a vaccine.”
Rudolph’s Harris clarified his latter claim by saying that if “Dr. Fauci says the vaccine is good, I will be the first in line like it’s an Ann Taylor sample sale. But if Trump says it’s safe? I will throw that vaccine in the trash like last week’s shrimp pad thai.”
As Bennett’s Pence kept coming back to swine flu (“two million dead if you include the swine!”), Carrey’s Biden decided to hop into the not-yet-fully functional teleportation device. Of course, since there were still some kinks to work out, he ended up mixed with a fly that had also gotten into the machine and landed on Bennett as Pence’s head, doing tiny finger guns at first and eventually a version of Jeff Goldblum (who famously starred in “The Fly”).
“God created dinosaurs, dinosaurs became Republican, Republicans created Trump, Trump destroys God,” he said.
A second fly landed on Pence’s head and it turned out to be Kenan Thompson as the late Herman Cain who was reincarnated after “these fools — Trump and Pence — killed me, man,” he said. “They invited me to a rally, said everything was fine, Herman. I catch corona, Trump tells me, ‘Everything is fine, Herman.’ The White House doctors check me out, tell me, ‘Everything is fine, Herman.’ Three days later I’m gone. If you’re watching this at home, don’t trust this white devil about that ‘rona.”
“Saturday Night Live” airs live coast-to-coast Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET / 8:30 p.m. PT on NBC. Watch the Oct. 10 vice presidential debate cold open above.