In a new sketch that aired last evening, Saturday Night Live took its best shots at the coronavirus and LaGuardia Airport, including digs at “airport sushi.”
Featuring a surprise cameo performance by Jake Gyllenhaal, the SNL sketch was a return to form for the show, with hilarious timing and direction. With the return of former SNL writer John Mulaney as guest host, the latest musical sketch did not hold back in roasting everything audiences hate about airports, particular focusing on every traveler’s struggles with the New York airport.
The sketch started off with commenting on the state of airport sushi, with the shock of imagining someone willingly buying pre-packed sushi at an airport. Things slowly got more elaborate and zanier with more characters joining in the fray.
The hilarious performance included both song and dance, with various nods to shows like West Side Story, Annie and Phantom of the Opera. Partly parodying the Broadway play Wicked, Gyllenhaal appeared wearing pajamas and hanging on wires.
The coronavirus was not left without getting included in the sketch. Cast member Bowen Yang had his cameo on SNL as well with a play on Oscar-winning flick Parasite and the the negative stereotype attached to Asians over the virus.
“No, I wasn’t in Parasite. I know the virus is bad, but it’s coming from Italy, too” Yang playfully sang.
Finally, the segment concluded with an appearance by former Talking Heads singer David Byrne (who was also the show’s musical guest) playing an airport baggage handler “who tosses everyone’s suitcases into Long Island Sound,” as Mulaney’s character described. Byrne then led the ensemble in a parody rendition of Talking Heads’ song “Road to Nowhere,” this time as “Plane to Nowhere.”
The ‘Airport Sushi’ segment follows in the tradition of other musical sketches that featured Mulaney and cast members Pete Davidson and Chris Redd, including 2018’s beloved ‘Diner Lobster‘ and last year’s ‘Bodega Bathroom.’
The coronavirus quickly became the most prevalent story of 2020 and it is no surprise that real-time television is reacting to it as well. The virus has become a common area of coverage for SNL, particularly during its cold open depicting a White House press conference. With Beck Bennett playing Vice President Mike Pence, Keenan Thompson reprising as Ben Carson, and Mulaney portraying former Vice President Joe Biden, the sketch took its shots at everyone involved, bringing a sense of levity in a trying time.