For the second episode in a row, Saturday Night Live went up without a proper host. Or a proper studio. Or lighting, wardrobe, makeup, or camera people. In its current, socially-distanced form, the show did, once more, bring in a big star to open the impressively mounted stay-at-home show and introduce the musical guest, however, perhaps even trumping the undeniably welcome relief of the April 11 Tom Hanks monologue. Taking up show-opening duties this week was none other than Brad Pitt, popping on an endearingly shoddy white wig and an inaccurate-but-game Brooklyn accent of infectious disease expert and America’s coronavirus safety blanket, Dr. Anthony Fauci. (No offense to Five-Timers Club legend Hanks, but Pitt has turned the show down repeatedly over the years until now.)
Taking on the good doctor’s signature position of politely but unflappably refuting the dangerous nonsense dribbling from Donald Trump’s mouth each day concerning the virus that’s shut down the live part of Saturday Night Live as well as the rest of the world, Pitt nailed the above-the-fray deadpan of Fauci’s truth-bombing interviews. To Trump’s assertion that the still-rampant virus would be done away with “relatively soon,” Pitt’s Fauci agreed, as long as we’re talking “relative” as in “to the entire history of Earth. When a clip showed Trump claiming that it will be “a miracle” when the virus just—poof— disappears from that Earth, Fauci’s patient rebuttal is that, yes, miracles are nice, “but miracles shouldn’t be Plan A.” Letting a pause sit just long enough is comic gold, and Pitt found the perfect timing after a clip of Trump babbling that scientists don’t even know what COVID-19 is (a virus? a germ?) before stating evenly, “We know what it is.” Pitt-Fauci did succumb to a little face-touching after the whole “inject yourself with disinfectant” thing, but he’s only human. Finishing up by stripping off his wig and thanking the real Fauci for his “calm” and “clarity” through all of this (something that the fake Fauci acknowledged was going to get him fired by ego-monster Trump any day now), Pitt went on to thank the medical personnel fighting on the front lines while Donald Trump is, as is his way, nowhere near them.