Tom Hanks was rolling out the Vegemite jokes and an Australian accent as host on Saturday Night Live’s (SNL) first “quarantine version”.
The actor used his time recovering from COVID-19 on the Gold Coast as prime comedy fodder for the popular late night show’s first time on the air in more than a month.
Hanks, who was diagnosed in early March, joked about some common US-Australian differences.
“The folks in Australia are fantastic in every way, but they use Celsius instead of Fahrenheit when they take your temperature,” he said.
That made a reading of 36 good but 38 bad, “like Hollywood treats female actresses”, he quipped.
But the Oscar winner clearly remembered the response he received on Twitter for his liberal use of Vegemite while in isolation.
Hanks tweeted a photo of toast with a thick layer of Vegemite in March, prompting warnings that he’d gone too far with the salty spread.
In reply, he really rolled out the Australian accent, mocking up a fake audience question from himself for his opening SNL monologue.
“I’ve got a question for Tommy Tim Tam. What’s the right proper way to get a daily dose of your vegemite?” Hanks asked, dressed in a checked shirt and hat.
“Enough of that,” the suited-up actor shot back.
He also joked that it was the first time he had worn anything but sweatpants since March and that his early diagnosis had made him the “celebrity canary in the coal mine”.
“I have been more like America’s dad than ever before, since no-one wants to be around me very long and I make people uncomfortable,” he said.
‘Live from Zoom’: SNL cast’s take on lockdown life
The world’s new way of keeping in contact – Zoom meetings – was ripe for satire.
The show’s “cold open” had all cast members arrayed in an onscreen gallery familiar to many working from home.
“Live from Zoom,” Kate McKinnon said. “It’s sometime between March and August.”
One skit featured a mock Zoom work meeting, where McKinnon and Aidy Bryant played a pair of inappropriate receptionists.
Bryant was stopped just in time when she brought her laptop with her into the bathroom.
“I used my licence as toilet paper and now I don’t know my own birthday,” Bryant said.
With Bernie Sanders dropping out of the Democratic primary race since the last time SNL was on, Larry David appeared from his easy chair to once again impersonate the Vermont senator.
“Don’t worry about me,” he said.
“It’s spring in Vermont, so soon it will be up to 40 degrees. And I finally have the time to relax and finish that heart attack from October.”
The show kept to its traditional structure with a musical guest. Chris Martin, on acoustic guitar, played a version of Bob Dylan’s Shelter From the Storm.
Alec Baldwin, portraying President Donald Trump, called in to the Weekend Update segment, although without video since Baldwin didn’t have access to makeup.
The faux president noted: “Every night at 7pm, all of New York claps and cheers for the great job I’m doing”, a reference to the nightly tribute to medical workers.
The show also touchingly paid tribute to music producer Hal Willner, who scored music for many years on SNL and died this past week after showing symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.
Past cast members Adam Sandler, Tina Fey and Bill Hader were among those who offered remembrances.