It’s OK To Question Nonsensical Mask Mandates

The Best Saturday Night Live sketches feel like funhouse-mirror versions of real life—echoes of conversations or situations we’ve experienced, but with comedic exaggerations. You know, the kind of person who’s never seen lobster on a dinner menu at a diner?

Former host, former SNLJohn Mulaney is an example of this. He’s a writer, and a recently released standup star. It could have been yanked out of probably thousands of conversations around the country this week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally loosened their guidelines for masking—guidelines that have been used to justify all sorts of local and state polices that often make little sense. You can think of the D.C. rules that require you to use a mask in order to get into a restaurant, although you will take it off once you have finished eating.

Six friends are gathered at dinner and that’s the beginning of the sketch. Keenan Thompson (one of the six) is still wearing his mask during our conversation. Heidi Gardner mentions to Keenan that he has removed his mask and she is now able to talk about an article which suggested that COVID was not affected by “mask mandates.”

Gardner quickly clarifies: “It’s certainly not that I’m anti-mask.” Gardner adds, “I sometimes wonder if some of the things which we did really helped.”

That sets off a chain reaction around the table, with each member of the group rest of the table reacting in exaggerated, GIF-tastic horror—before slowly, even painfully admitting that they, too, are questioning the effectiveness of the pandemic theater that we’ve endured over the past two years.

This sketch is unexpectedly provocative from a show which rarely targets the liberal political consensus. Five minutes of aloud thought that many have condemned as being off limits.

Kate McKinnon plays a character who is “personally so relieved that she was vaccinated.” But then, Mulaney asks aloud about whether vaccine-hesitant people might have legitimate reasons to refuse the shot. Mulaney timidly suggests that maybe “we”—read: the show’s liberal audience—have been too quick to demand that the unvaccinated lose their jobs and get shunned from public life.

Then, you can quickly unravel the reasoning behind many events in the last year. Outdoor dining? You mean the smaller restaurants that were built on the streets? How is it outdoors? Mulaney questions. Mulaney asks about the CDC’s confusing and constantly changing guidance. Thompson complained that “when I make mistakes at work, the science doesn’t change.”

But it’s McKinnon who delivers the final blow with a long story about how she attended a child’s birthday party in which all the kids were masked while doing gymnastics—and then took off the masks to eat pizza.

They really needed the mask?” She says it, sounding almost like she is about to vomit. Did anyone need the mask?

These are questions many of us have asked for months or even years. While masking can be helpful in slowing the spread of coronaviruses under certain circumstances, masking is not always the best option. MandatesThey are primarily about virtue signaling, and they haven’t proven to be effective. McKinnon said that it is absurd to mask in one setting and immediately unmask in another. The absurdity of many COVID rules has been further illustrated by officials not paying attention to their own policies.

It’s good on SNLFor telling viewers to have fun and question everything.