Saturday Night Live opened its third at-home episode and season finale with a high school graduation ceremony for the class of 2020, held virtually with the cast members on Zoom because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A fictional Principal O’Grady played by cast member Kate McKinnon said she tried to get the graduating class’ first choice for keynote speaker, but that fell through.
And that’s how U.S. President Donald Trump, played by Alec Baldwin from his home, ends up in their virtual ceremony.
“Congratulations to the class of COVID-19,” he jokes while dressed in a red Make America Great Again hat. Only one student, wearing a MAGA grad cap, welcomes him with a clap when he appears on screen as Trump.
Baldwin-as-Trump tells the wary students to look forward to life after graduation.
“There are so many exciting new jobs out there like grocery store bouncer, cam girl, and porch pirate,” he said.
As one student, played by cast member Beck Bennett, yells out “We want Fauci!” — referring to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious diseases expert — Trump-as-Baldwin scoffs, coughs, and takes a swig of what appears to be bleach.
“Good ol’ invincibility juice!” he exclaims.
Channelling Trump, Baldwin dispenses some words of advice to the class: “Surround yourself with the worst people you can find, that way you will always shine.”
“If you don’t understand something, just call it stupid,” he added.
“Never wear sunscreen, and live every day like it’s your last because we’re going to let this virus run wild.”
The show aired its first at-home episode on April 12, with the cast connecting on a Zoom call and actor Tom Hanks hosting from his kitchen.
The first at-home episode came after the show spent several weeks off the air because of restrictions around COVID-19.
In mid-March, the weekly late-night show had announced it was postponing production due to the crisis.