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Comedian Chris Rock on "Saturday Night Live." Photo: NBC

"Saturday Night Live" addressed the "elephant in the room," President Trump's coronavirus diagnosis, in host Chris Rock's opening monologue and in the cold open during the show's premiere episode of Season 46.

Driving the news: Rock joked, "President Trump’s in the hospital from COVID and you know, I just want to say my heart goes out to COVID." Meanwhile in the cold open, Jim Carrey as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden spoke of "science and karma."

"You can trust me because I believe in science and karma. Now, just imagine if science and karma could somehow team up and send us all a message about how dangerous this virus can be. I’m not saying I want it to happen. Just imagine if it did."
— Jim Carrey as Biden

Of note: "SNL" also addressed the real-life debate moment when the former vice president told Trump to "shut up," as Carrey's Biden takes steps to keep his composure, including breathing into a bag.

  • In a surprise twist, Harry Styles made a cameo role after Carrey's Biden said he needed to listen to a meditation tape of the singer-actor to "calm me down."

The big picture: The NBC comedy was filmed before a limited in-studio audience at Rockefeller Center in consultation with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's team to meet COVID-19 protection requirements.

  • The Trump administration did not immediately return Axios' request for comment.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Dec 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus vaccine gets the "SNL" cold open treatment

Photo: Will Heath/NBC

The latest "Saturday Night Live" cold open tackled the FDA's authorization of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine a day earlier.

Details: Beck Bennett as CNN's Wolf Blitzer noted it's "like the PS5: Everybody wants it, nobody can get it, and if you're rich, you already got it like a month ago" before introducing the White House coronavirus task force's Anthony Fauci (Kate McKinnon) and Deborah Birx (Heidi Gardner).

  • The show was hosted by actor Timothée Chalamet, with music from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Flashback: Anthony Fauci praises "classy" Brad Pitt's "SNL" portrayal of him

33 mins ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.

Biden picks Warren allies to lead SEC, CFPB

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has selected FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Obama-era Wall Street regulator Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why it matters: Both picks are progressive allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and viewed as likely to take aggressive steps to regulate big business.