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Kate McKinnon’s Weekend Update Breakdown Perfectly Captures Our Current Mental State

Dr. Wenowdis gets it.

In the 8 years she’s been on Saturday Night Live, Kate McKinnon has made a name for herself as a brilliantly funny comedian. But while McKinnon slays in sketches, she’s truly a Weekend Update all-star, delivering some of the funniest desk pieces in recent memory. So when she rolled onscreen sporting a bushy wig and mustache as medical expert Dr. Wayne Wenowdis during last night’s Weekend Update, we knew something hilarious was in store.

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What transpired was essentially a one-joke premise, where McKinnon’s Wenowdis keeps repeating facts about Donald Trump and the coronavirus adding “we know dis” at the end of every phrase. As she and Colin Jost go through the insanity of Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, his early release from Walter Reed, and his contagious status, McKinnon punctuates every point with a weary “wenowdis”.

The sketch goes off the rails when McKinnon tries to take Jost’s blood pressure by rubbing the cuff all over him, forcing Jost to ask, “Kate, are you okay?”. McKinnon responds out of character, “I’m obviously not,” and the audience applauds. She continued, “I’m sorry, it’s such a crazy time, and this is something I started doing to cope. I have a lot of wigs and mustaches at my disposal, and it’s a nice way to escape, you know, it’s refreshing to play a character who, um, who know dis.”

She continued, “Who will win the election? We don’t know dis. When will the pandemic end? Dis we don’t know, we don’t know dis. What will happen to the world? We do not know dis. But Colin, the one thing we do know is that … no, we don’t know dis.”

McKinnon’s fourth wall-breaking despair taps into something we can all relate to right now. In this relentless news cycle, we are inundated with a constant stream of bad news. And above it all is the lingering uncertainty that comes with unprecedented times. We don’t know what will happen in November, we don’t know what will happen with the coronavirus, and we have no clue if and how we can return to any semblance of normalcy.

We’re stuck in a deeply frustrating and stressful holding pattern, held hostage by a government unwilling to acknowledge the pandemic even while our president and his cronies test positive. We know that the White House will keep lying about the pandemic, Trump’s health, and other seriously important information.

It’s like we’re trapped in a tornado of lying and incompetence, with an added tsunami of economic despair and a splash of fatalism. Is it any wonder then, that McKinnon wants to delve into a goofy character who is resigned to confusion and weariness? There is something undeniably refreshing about seeing our malaise reflected back to us in Dr. Wenowdis.

McKinnon’s break is a welcome reminder that we’re not alone, and this isn’t all just in our heads. And sometimes, that’s enough. What a fitting moment for where we’re all at in 2020.

(featured image: screencap/NBC)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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