TV & Movies

MacGruber Is Back & An Anti-Vaxxer In New SNL Sketches With Kristen Wiig & Ryan Phillippe

The fan-favorite SNL character is headed down a misinformed path.

MacGruber Is Back & An Anti-Vaxxer In New SNL Sketch With Kristen Wiig & Ryan Phillippe. Photo via P...

MacGruber, the incompetent special operations agent Saturday Night Live fans have loved to hate since Will Forte first portrayed him in 2007, is back. The SNL alum revived the fan-favorite sketch multiple times throughout his first-time hosting gig on Jan. 22 and brought fellow SNL alum Kristen Wiig and actor Ryan Phillippe along as the titular MacGyver parody character’s sidekicks, Vicki St. Elmo and Dixon Piper, respectively. Reviving the fan-favorite sketch’s classic storyline, Forte’s MacGruber was tasked with deactivating a ticking bomb but became too distracted to do so — this time because he was too busy spewing COVID-19 misinformation.

Stressed out and masked up, Vicki and Dixon appeared alongside MacGruber in the sketch as he worked to stop the bomb before its 60-second timer ran out. “I know this whole COVID situation has really changed the game, so we got to be smart about this, OK?” the titular character said. “We’re in a small room with very limited airflow.”

As if he was gathering materials to properly halt the explosion, MacGruber then asked for Vicki and Dixon’s surgical masks and burned them along with his own. “We need every drop of oxygen we can get, which is impossible with these stupid face diapers. I can finally breathe,” MacGruber said. He also claimed to be vaccinated before calling it fake and admitting he doesn’t even know how to spell “Pfizer” correctly. After going on about his COVID-19 denialism past the minute-long countdown, as expected on the recurring sketch, the bomb exploded.

Then, a second sketch saw MacGruber seemingly starting to follow more pandemic safety protocols as another bomb neared explosion. In a twist, he then revealed himself to be wearing a cut-up surgical mask in protest of mandates before drinking bleach and taking the controversial medication Ivermectin — not to treat COVID, but horse worms and herpes. As the insufferable MacGruber began hinting at his belief in the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, Vicki reminded him of the bomb, which exploded, because it always does.

Later in the episode, MacGruber came back for a third sketch. As yet another bomb was about to blow up, he went into full insurrection mode, dressed as the infamous “QAnon Shaman” who donned viking horns and red, white, and blue face paint during the U.S. Capitol riots on Jan. 6. Forte’s character attempted to get Vicki and Dixon to believe wild claims that “Hollywood celebrities are eating babies” before forgetting about the exploding bomb, which then went off.

Considering MacGruber was recently adapted into an action-comedy series on Peacock starring Forte, Wiig, and Phillippe, the character’s return to Saturday Night Live is especially fitting. In Forte’s opening monologue, he joked about the series’ future on the streaming platform. “I would like to officially announce that MacGruber has been picked up for Season 2,” he said, pausing for applause before continuing: “I would like to announce that, but it hasn’t been picked up yet, so I can’t. We’re waiting to hear.”

Following Forte’s revival of MacGruber on Saturday Night Live, fans on Twitter embraced the classically inept character’s return and noted his turn to COVID-19 misinformation as unsurprising.