Saturday Night Live knows the root cause of the Omicron variant: Spider-Man: Far From Home.
In one of the show’s most deliriously batsh*t cold opens in some time, James Austin Johnson leads the way as an insistent President Joe Biden who commands, even begs, the nation to stop seeing the latest Spider-Man movie. At first, it’s because — he claims — the latest chapter of the Marvel wall-crawler’s ongoing story is behind Dec. 2021’s Omicron variant-fueled surge. But it’s not long before Spidey is forced to shoulder the blame for everything from the looming Ukraine-Russia conflict to the Democrats’ stumbling efforts to bolster U.S. voting rights.
As funny as all of this is on its own, the sudden, unexpected arrival of Pete Davidson (I won’t spoil what his deal is) takes the delirious batsh*ttedness to heretofore unexplored realms of “what the hell?!” When someone dressed in a Spider-Man suit shows up at the very end to join the usual “Live from New York…!” shout-out, it almost feels like something went wrong and a planned comedy beat was missed.
That ain’t it. This cold open is very, very right. If Spidey didn’t swoop in to save the (comedy) day, it’s because his heroics weren’t needed.