What: ‘The Sands of Modesto,’ a sketch that expertly spoofs our coronavirus fears.
Who: The team at Saturday Night Live and host Daniel Craig.
Why we care: The show must go on! Well, kind of. Not necessarily, if coronavirus has anything to say about it.
The shows at SXSW won’t go on. The newest James Bond movie won’t go on (well, at least not until November now). And it doesn’t look good for Coachella either. The entertainment industry is taking a hit in situations where large crowds are concerned, but what about the intimate spaces where a lot of its other business is conducted? SNL has some thoughts on that, in a coronavirus sketch with a meta twist.
Although the Elizabeth Warren cameo and subsequent viral backstage video were the SNL talk of the weekend, this sketch was the smart, topical standout of the episode. Before the start of a very Californians-esque soap opera, a brief disclaimer reads: “With the outbreak of COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus, the producers of today’s episode of The Sands of Modesto would like to remind viewers that the staging of certain scenes has been altered for the actors’ safety.”
The sketch that follows would already be pretty funny if it played straight, with Kate McKinnon, Chloe Fineman, and a cockatoo-brandishing Daniel Craig vamping up the soap opera vibes. However, the safety alterations the cast and crew of The Sands of Modesto supposedly employ send it over the top. If it hasn’t occurred to you yet that it might be a scary time to be on a TV show—say, SNL, for instance—constantly coming into close contact with sets and props and other performers that have been handled by many other questionably Purell’d individuals, this sketch offers a window into what that might look like.
Use your latex-wrapped finger to click on the video below and watch the entire sketch.