Earlier this month, White House infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci named Brad Pitt as the actor he wanted to play him if he got the chance.
On Saturday night (US time), he got his wish, with Pitt playing Dr Fauci in a Saturday Night Live skit that unpacked many of President Donald Trump’s responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
“First, I’d like to thank all the older women in America who have sent me supportive, inspiring and sometimes graphic emails,” Pitt as Dr Fauci said.
He then said misinformation had been spreading about the coronavirus and “yes, the President has taken some liberties with our guidelines”.
Pitt’s Dr Fauci said he would try to explain what Mr Trump had been “trying to say.”
“Remember, let’s all keep an open mind,” he said.
The show cut in real-world footage of Mr Trump’s speeches about coronavirus, starting with the President’s claim that he had had great meetings and there would be a vaccine “relatively soon”.
“Relatively soon is an interesting phrase. Relative to the entire history of Earth? Sure, the vaccine is going to come real fast,” Pitt’s Dr Fauci said.
“But if you were to tell a friend, ‘I’ll be over relatively soon’ and then showed up a year and a half later, well, your friend may be relatively p—ed off.”
Pitt also had “a couple of things” to say about coronavirus testing. First, he took issue with Mr Trump’s description of it as “beautiful” – “unless your idea of ‘beautiful’ is having a cotton swab tickle your brain”.
Additionally, he said, in the hard-hit US “almost no one can get a test”. By Monday morning (AEST), the US had nearly 1 million coronavirus infections and nearly 54,000 deaths.
But Pitt saved his strongest response for Mr Trump’s remarks last week about injecting disinfectant to “knock out” the virus. To that, he could offer only a dumbstruck look.
It was followed by a face palm at the idea that the virus can be stopped by hitting the body with light – even while the doctor admitted he knew he “shouldn’t be touching [his] face”.
“Yeah, I’m getting fired,” Pitt’s Dr Fauci said. “But until then, I’m going to be there, putting out the facts for whoever’s listening. And when I hear things like, ‘the virus can be cured if everyone takes the [disinfectant] challenge, I’ll be there to say, ‘please don’t’.”
At the end of the sketch, Pitt pulled off his Fauci wig and glasses.
“To the real Dr Fauci, thank you for your calm and your clarity in this unnerving time,” he said. “And thank you to the medical workers, first responders and their families for being on the front line.”