Saturday Night Live really explored the space with the Super Bowl in its latest episode, with its cold open focusing on the pregame show you’re likely to skip before the big game and another segment set at a bar with the Super Bowl on. But another sketch actually served a more practical purpose: warning people why they should cancel their big Super Bowl parties because other people cannot be trusted to be safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
The “Super Bowl Pod” sketch, which featured episode host Dan Levy, started with a group of friends watching the game in masks. They talk about how safe they’ve been, though, and so they take those masks off and start breaking down how careful they have been to avoid dangerous activities during a still-ongoing pandemic.
“We’ve all been so good,” one character says. “We deserve this.”
But things slowly unravel as each character, which promised they had been super careful, was actually doing dangerous things like international travel, indoor dining and “rawdog sex with strangers in the park.”
Even the character who “got the vaccine” didn’t do it right: he still had it in a vial that he carries with him everywhere he goes. The sketch is absurd, but it carries with it a notion that’s rang true far too often in the last year: lots of people think they’re being careful, but for many the definition of playing it safe is very different in a pandemic. Mistakes get made, which is why staying home and keeping away from others’ mistakes is always the safest possible play.
And the ending, with everyone wondering why they can’t smell or taste the spicy chili they’re eating with their hands, is a nice touch as well. It’s perhaps too-gentle a reminder that we’re still in a pandemic, which is why SNL ended the segment with an appearance from “Dr. Fauci” to make a few more jokes and remind everyone that this simulation is a terrible idea to replicate. So stay home with snack foods and condoms instead, I suppose.
“Right now you’re probably feeling like most Americans: bored, horny and borderline nuts. I know I am,” Kate McKinnon, as Fauci, said. “But what you just saw was the wrong way to Super Bowl.”
The sketch is funny, but there’s a real message behind it as well. Much like with Thanksgiving and Christmas, many public health officials worry that Super Bowl parties could be superspreader events, especially with new variants of coronavirus infecting people more rapidly than before. Masking it with a bit of humor is fine, but the advice behind the sketch is pretty valid: you should probably stay home and avoid big parties, even if everyone says they’re being safe.
Heidi Gardner, it should be noted, is actually a Chiefs fan. So that may have been her own Patrick Mahomes jersey she wore for the sketch. She also wore a custom Chiefs dress in the closing credits, and explained on Instagram that someone made the dress for her to wear in that exact moment.
Later in the episode, another Super Bowl sketch featured bar patrons performing a “football song” you definitely have never heard of.
Weekend Update also had some Super Bowl jokes, though they were mostly about Tampa if we’re being honest.