‘S.N.L.’ Gives Comic Voice to the Downed Chinese Spy Balloon

Bowen Yang played the balloon wreckage as it floated off the Eastern Seaboard, in a wide-ranging episode hosted by Pedro Pascal.

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By Dave Itzkoff

The downing of a Chinese spy balloon on Saturday afternoon ended America’s fixation on the balloon’s days-long journey across United States airspace and provided “Saturday Night Live” with irresistibly topical subject matter for its opening sketch just a few hours later.

This weekend’s “S.N.L.” broadcast, hosted by Pedro Pascal and featuring the musical guest Coldplay, started with a sendup of an MSNBC broadcast anchored by Chloe Fineman, playing the TV journalist Katy Tur.

“Tonight, our long national nightmare is over,” Fineman said. “We got the balloon.”

She introduced a Pentagon official played by Kenan Thompson, who explained how the balloon was eventually brought down.

“The balloon was somehow able to get past our West Coast anti-balloon defense system, the Seattle Space Needle,” Thompson said. “But once it was here, we were able to keep an eye on it with our sophisticated tracking technology. Of going like this.” Here, Thompson simply looked up above him.

He added: “I know there were questions about why we didn’t shoot it down immediately. But we wanted to wait until it was over the coast, so that it wouldn’t fall on people.”

“Or go ssh-ssh-ssh-ssh,” he continued, making the sound of a deflating balloon, “and land on my car.”

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