Chris Rock hosted the Saturday Night Live season premiere this weekend, and naturally, there was plenty for the stand-up comedian to talk about. Rock took the stage with a mask on, pulling it off only as he began to talk, and launching right into jokes about President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis. Rock pulled no punches in an 8-minute monologue about the ailing president.
"Before we even get started, the elephant in the room: President Trump's in the hospital from COVID," Rock said. "So, I just want to say, my heart goes out to COVID." Rock then rattled off some of the biggest obstacles the U.S. has faced since SNL went on hiatus — the coronavirus pandemic, systemic racism and the ensuing protests, and the stalemate in the U.S. Congress. He brought all of this together by saying: "We need to change our relationship to the government... Do you realize that there's more rules to a game show than running for president?"
"Donald Trump left game show to run for president, because it was easier!" he said. "There's rules to be on Jeopardy! You can't just jump on Jeopardy!, can't throw your son on Jeopardy!, or your son-in-law. Steve Harvey can't put his family on Family Feud."
Rock reserved some criticism for Trump's opponents as well, saying: "and do the Democrats even want to win? Do they even want to win?! It's like, Trump just runs against — they keep putting up 75-year-old people to run against Trump!"
"Now, one thing we can say about Trump: he got the most energy of any 75-year-old person on the face of the earth," Rock went on. "Even Mick Jagger is like 'slow down, Don.' Trump is like a dominant female boxer. He's like Ronda Rosey. You're like 'Godd—it, she can fight!' And then you go 'Oh, she's hitting girls.'"
Rock wrapped all of this up with a call to action, asking viewers to vote next month, and to "take it seriously." He urged them to dream big about changes they would want to see in the U.S. government and to cast their votes to see those changes happen.
Rock's monologue was far from the political highlight of the SNL Season 46 premiere. That slot likely goes to the cold open — a live sketch about the first debate of the 2020 presidential election, introducing Jim Carrey in his new guest-starring role as former Vice President Joe Biden.
Saturday Night Live is back in the studio this season with coronavirus safety precautions in place. The show is taking no weeks off between now and Election Day. The next new episode features comedian Bill Burr as host, and singer-songwriter Morgan Warren as musical guest. It premieres on Oct. 10 at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.