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'SNL' takes on coronavirus and the Democratic presidential candidates

They crash Mike Pence's White House news conference to pitch their leadership credentials.
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As fears of coronavirus spread, "Saturday Night Live" lightened the moment by imagining what would happen if Democratic candidates for president elbowed into the leadership spotlight during a White House news conference.

It started with Vice President Mike Pence, played by Beck Bennett, speaking about how President Donald Trump's administration, with him in charge of managing the crisis, is tackling the situation.

"We've assembled a very experienced team of some of the best people left in government," he says.

Included on that team is Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, played by Kenan Thompson, who suggests people buy Make America Great Again medical masks as a precaution.

"It may take a few months for delivery because they are made in Wuhan, China," he says.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, played by former cast member Fred Armisen, crashes the event and is asked by Pence how he got past security.

"I just walked in coughing and everybody got out of my way," he says.

The former mayor of New York said Trump wasn't handling the epidemic well, but Bloomberg felt that his message wasn't getting through. So he switched to Spanish.

"El Presidente Trumpito," he says, "es mucho ay-ay-ay."

IMAGE: 'Saturday Night Live'
Michael Bloomberg (Fred Armisen) interrupts Mike Pence (Beck Bennett) at his White House news conference on the coronavirus to talk about his presidential candidacy in "Saturday Night Live's" cold open on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, played by the night's host, comedian John Mulaney, also crashes the party by announcing he just won the Democratic primary in South Carolina.

"Guess who just kicked butt in South Cracker Barrel?" he says.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, played by Larry David, suggests his health care platform is prescient.

"You gotta admit folks, universal health care doesn't sound too crazy now, does it?" he says.

Rachel Dratch as Sen. Amy Klobuchar suggests she's the candidate with the "moderate from the Midwest shtick."

And Sen. Elizabeth Warren, played by Kate McKinnon, argues that Bloomberg just can't be trusted to lead America through the crisis.

"He wrote and directed the movie 'Cats,'" she claims. "This is a bad man."

Sanders suggests soap and "scalding hot water" is the defense Americans need to fight the virus. But Pete Buttigieg, 38, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, says he's the right person to handle the crisis because Biden and Sanders are in their 70s.

"Can I just mention I'm the only candidate up here who's not going to lose. To the coronavirus," he says. "You know you're all in high-risk demographics."

On "Weekend Update," hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che hammered Trump for how he's handled the coronavirus.

"Donald Trump is the worst person to possibly ease people's fears," Jost says. "Hoping Trump can calm people down is like hoping cocaine can fight insomnia."

But coronavirus isn't all bad, because it has a relatively low mortality rate, he argues.

"If you had given me only a 2 percent chance of dying during Trump's first term, I would have taken that in a heartbeat," he says.

Che has some advice for America as the virus has spread from China to the U.S.

"Stop making fun of the Chinese for this virus," he says. "They might have some interesting choices in edible meats. We just stopped eating Tide pods, like, two years ago."

Later in a sketch, a man played by Pete Davidson orders expired sushi from an airport convenience store. Travelers are taken on a Broadway journey that includes Jake Gyllenhaal in pajamas (said to make things easier during TSA inspections) and cast member Bowen Yang as "Profiled Asian."

"Profiled Asian, standing beside you," he sings. "I cough and it's over. You get off the plane."

The travelers are soon joined by a chorus that includes the night's musical guest, David Byrne, leading a march through a rendition of Talking Heads' "Road to Nowhere."

"We're on a plane to nowhere," they sing.