After three weeks off, “Saturday Night Live” returned last night. The episode was hosted by comedian and former "SNL" writer John Mulaney, marking his entry into the exclusive Five-Timers Club.
The episode was peppered with surprise special guests throughout the night, including a member of the TODAY family!
Al Roker appeared in a pre-taped sketch from the comedy trio Please Don’t Destroy about a new variant of COVID-19. This variant, as it turns out, is unlike any others and only has positive side effects.
“SNL” writers Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy initially flip the station from one of Al’s broadcasts to Mulaney, who is portraying an NBC News anchor.
“They’re calling it a miracle,” Mulaney said of the fictional new variant. “A new strain of COVID-19 that’s mutated so hard that it’s actually good. It’s called the Gelvini variant and it doesn’t make you sick, it just makes you feel dope!”
While researching the new variant, which apparently hails from Cabo San Lucas, the trio are interrupted by a knock on their office door and are greeted by a somber-looking Paul Rudd.
“Bad news. I tested positive for the Gelvini variant and it actually made me sick,” Rudd said, his voice trailing off before adding, “At playing synth!”
Immediately, Rudd begins to wail on the instrument and dance, a moment reminiscent of his character Mike Hannigan on “Friends.” A video montage of the group of four ensues, set to the tune of Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars,” as they celebrate the new strain.
After learning that everyone in the room tested positive for the new variant, Higgins asks the group, “Alright, who’s hungry?”
Not even a second later, Al enters the office with a massive sub, asking, “Did somebody say hungry?”
His presence was greeted with a resounding “Roker!” by the group of four before he encouraged them to “come and get it!”
Al quickly leaned into the chaos of the the celebration, volunteering to chug a beer as the group cheered him on.
“Roker’s on the loose,” Rudd whispered to Higgins before Al popped a bottle of champagne and began to rock out to some music wearing a pair of silly glasses.
Mulaney, after having declared that he was going on vacation to Bali, appeared on the television screen once again for an update on the Gelvini variant, explaining, “Oh wow, a new symptom…apparently the good variant gives you long, luscious locks.”
When the camera cut back to the comedy trio, Rudd, and Al, all five of them were donning long wigs.
The party continued with the quintet playing drinking games while Mulaney continued to deliver news updates, one of which declared that Pokémon were real.
Eventually, Mulaney joined the group in the same manner as Al, tossing a massive sandwich down on the table while they declared that the pandemic was over.
The sketch ended with a still of none other than Al rocking his wig with two 40-ounce beers taped to both hands, declaring him, “Executive Producer Al ‘Forty-Hands’ Roker.”
Al has been spoofed on the long-running sketch comedy show in the past. In 2010, cast member Kenan Thompson portrayed the TODAY meteorologist in a sketch called “Al Roker’s Ruff, Rugged and Roker” which showcased Al in a whole different light.