Saturday Night Live

‘SNL' Cold Open Takes on Dr. Fauci, Omicron, and Cuomo Brothers

Cast member Kate McKinnon returned to the show for the first time this season, playing Dr. Anthony Fauci in the cold open, while Billie Eilish doubled as host and musical guest


"Saturday Night Live" kicked off the show's cold open with a holiday message tackling the rising fears about the spread of the omicron variant.

Kate McKinnon returned to "SNL" for the first time this season (McKinnon has been filming another project), and reprised her bald-capped portrayal of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director who has become a fixture of the pandemic. 

McKinnon's Fauci begins the briefing after applause with "Do people still think I am sexy? Or are we done with that?"

Fauci (McKinnon) explains how Americans can navigate the omicron variant this year.

"As you've probably heard, there's an omicron wave sweeping the globe," McKinnon's Fauci says. "With COVID cases on the rise, people still have a lot of questions. Is it safe to travel? Can I still use this as an excuse to get out of stuff? I would like to never work again. So to help answer these queries, I've once again invited members of the CDC to act out various holiday scenelets."

The first had two CDC employees, played by Mikey Day and Heidi Gardner, acting out what it's like to go to a restaurant now.

"Hi, I would like to eat Christmas dinner at your restaurant, please," Day's character said." Sure, I just need to see your vaccination card," Gardner's character responded. Day's character said he "can't find it."

"You mean, you lost the little one-inch piece of cardboard they gave you?" Gardner's character said, before telling him that since he lost the card he was now banished from society.

McKinnon's Fauci remarked that you can just get another card -- he thinks.

However, McKinnon's Fauci additionally shared some insight from "two unemployed brothers on Christmas": the Cuomos. Pete Davidson played the former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, while his brother Chris Cuomo, was played by Andrew Dismukes.

In August, Andrew Cuomo resigned after being accused of sexual harassment. His younger brother, CNN anchor Chris, was fired last week for intimately helping the former governor.

"Hello, I am disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo," says Pete Davidson's Andrew Cuomo.

"I am disgraced 'CNN' host Chris Cuomo," says Andrew Dismukes' Chris Cuomo.

"And we both lost our jobs, because of COVID," Davidson's Cuomo says, as the brothers embrace each other.

Other politicians popped into the briefing alongside McKinnon such as Ted Cruz, played by Aidy Bryant, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Lauren Boebert, who were played by Cecily Strong and Chloe Fineman, holding giant guns.

McKinnon's Fauci asked how Cruz was handling the pandemic. "Oh, textbook bad," Bryant's Cruz said.

McKinnon's Fauci then told the audience that despite our differences, there's some things we can all agree on, like spending time with our families. "Or run it back solo to Cancun," Bryant's Cruz interrupted.

The Grammy Award-winning artist, Billie Eilish who doubled as host and musical guest this week, dressed for the occasion with a puffy, candy-cane colored dress and matching socks.

“If you don’t know me for my music, you may know me for my hair or my clothes,” she said in her opening monologue. "That is why I decided to dress as Mrs. Claus going to the club."

Eilish explains her oversized, baggy clothing style choice, "It wasn’t just for comfort or for style. This is hard to say for me, but the real reason I started wearing oversized clothes back then is because I was actually two kids stacked on top of each other trying to sneak into an R-rated movie,” she joked.

She gave a shoutout to her upcoming birthday (“I’m turning 20 or as the internet likes to call that: middle-aged”) and spoke about how her parents were actors as well as her brother -- producer and multi-Grammy-winning musician, Finneas Baird O’Connell.

For the first sketch of the night, cast members Melissa Villaseñor and Alex Moffat play a couple viewing the holiday cards they have received that are hanging on their fridge. The images come alive, all to comic effect.

"Oh my god, their rat dog is still alive?!" cries Moffat, looking at an image of her friend's decrepit dog. Miley Cyrus makes a surprise appearance alongside cast member Punkie Johnson. Eilish plays Villaseñor's mean high-school friend, with Andrew Dismukes as her teenage son.

In an interesting new type of digital sketch, "SNL" takes on a spoof of someone who is endlessly scrolling through a TikTok feed.

Host Eilish pops up a few times in the endless TikTok scroll playing a nurse who is paying more attention to doing a TikTok dance than attending to her patients in the background. James Austin Johnson plays Homer Simpson attempting to do ASMR, while Chloe Fineman is obsessed with Blake Lively's dress.

In "Lonely Christmas Ad" Billie Eilish plays the neighbor from across the street trying to invite what she sees as an old lonely woman over for Christmas dinner, played by Kate McKinnon. While the two are only communicating through written notes between windows in their respective homes, after a few odd note exchanges, Eilish realizes she made a horrible mistake.

"Weekend Update" kicked off the news segment with co-host Colin Jost noting that actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty this week of falsely reporting that he was the victim of a hate-fueled attack in Chicago.

"On Thursday, a Chicago jury declared Jussie Smollett is really bad at acting," Jost said.

Co-host Michael Che mentions how the omicron variant was first reported at an anime convention in New York. "The one time they leave the house," Che jokes.

Eilish’s first set of the evening was her album’s titular song “Happier Than Ever,” on a stage that was set up to look like a generic hotel room.

Next week Paul Rudd hosts "SNL" on Dec. 18.

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