‘Saturday Night Live’ pokes fun at Newsom, Cuomo in spoof vaccine game show

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a microphone.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in Sacramento on Saturday.
(Associated Press)

Following another chaotic and frustrating week of news involving problems associated with the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, “Saturday Night Live” took a few jabs at a beleaguered Gov. Gavin Newsom and his own handling of the pandemic.

In the late-night comedy show’s opening sketch, Dr. Anthony Fauci, played by Kate McKinnon, introduced Newsom’s character as being “hated by every single person in California except for those 10 people he had dinner with in Napa that one time.”

When asked how things were going in California, Newsom, played by Alex Moffat, responded: “Teeth, white. Body tight. Covid, pretty bad.”

He was joined on stage by two other news-making governors: New York’s Andrew Cuomo (Pete Davidson) and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer (Cecily Strong). The three served as judges in a made-up game show dubbed “So You Think You Can Get the Vaccine.”

“The vaccine shouldn’t be a competition,” Fauci (McKinnon) explained. “But Americans will only want to get it if it means someone else can’t.”


These punch lines come days after news broke that a California program intended to improve COVID-19 vaccine availability in hard-hit Black and Latino communities were being misused by the wealthy and more privileged. Special access codes had been provided to community groups to distribute to underserved areas — but the codes instead began circulating in emails and group texts among younger people not yet eligible for the vaccine.

As for those who are qualified to received their first or second shot of the vaccine, confusion over who can make an appointment — and where — continues to frustrate older residents, as well as younger family members trying to navigate the state’s website for their most vulnerable loved ones.

With COVID-19 vaccine supplies still tight, officials have been forced to make agonizing choices about who should get priority.

Feb. 26, 2021

Newsom, who’s now infamous Napa Valley dinner with a lobbyist and a few others during the pandemic continues to prompt criticism, is also facing the possibility of a recall election in the fall. Much of the argument is over the closure of small businesses and schools, as well as the state’s flawed vaccine rollout. Critics have also seized upon the billions of dollars of fraudulent payments made by the state’s unemployment office.

Newsom flatly rejects the suggestion that politics have played a role in his pandemic decisions and has not publicly acknowledged the recall effort even as he shifts to campaign-style events in major media markets across the state.

Feb. 27, 2021

In New York, Cuomo, who was seen as a star early in the pandemic, has also been in the hot seat — with sexual harassment allegations back in the news, as well as his decision to send older COVID-19 patients back to nursing homes and then allegedly obscuring the numbers of nursing-home patients who died.


At the end of this week’s “SNL” spoof, the three governors agreed to give the vaccine to an 85-year-old game show contestant who was “an Army doctor, now just the world’s proudest granddad.” They congratulated him and told him to go make an appointment “online.”

“On what?” the 85-year-old asked, confused. Perhaps, he said, he could ask a younger person for help navigating the internet.

Cuomo, played by Davidson, responds gravely:

“Does he have three straight days to help you click refresh?”