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Jason Bateman plays Santa in pandemic-themed 'SNL' sketch

Jason Bateman guest hosted this weekend's edition of Saturday Night Live. File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI
Jason Bateman guest hosted this weekend's edition of "Saturday Night Live." File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Guest host Jason Bateman played a mall Santa and Cecily Strong played Mrs. Claus in a holiday and coronavirus pandemic-themed sketch on this weekend's edition of Saturday Night Live.

In the scene, the "King and Queen of Christmas" were standing in individual, "magic snow globes," so they could safely greet families after they sanitized their hands with the help of a "virtual, contactless elf."

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When a little girl and her parents, who were all wearing festive face masks, approached to pose for a photo, the unstable, clear plastic balls rolled off a platform, bloodying Santa's nose and upending Mrs. Claus' cupcakes.

This weekend's episode also showed Manhattan's Duplex night club hosting an outdoor cabaret performance during the pandemic.

Bateman played musician Devon, who wore a plastic face shield and protective gown over his suit.

Glamorously dressed performers Charlie and Billie (Bowen Yang and Cecily Strong) cheerily kept the show going for a handful of masked audience members, insisting New York City will survive its current dire circumstances.

Meanwhile, Devon complained that his piano was stolen off the street during a previous act, his substitute plastic keyboard was melting under a heat lamp and their previous outdoor setup had been "decimated" by a bus and a cab because they placed it in a street turning lane.

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During his monologue, Bateman noted he last guest hosted the show 15 years earlier when he shared the stage with a live chimpanzee.

"If the show did the sketch today, they would use a puppet or a kid in a fuzzy suit, you know, for safety, but, back then, they used a real, male adult chimpanzee. This was 2005," Bateman explained.

"Things were so loose that, at the end of the show, at 'good nights,' the monkey was allowed to take a bow with us up here. We're all hugging and saying 'good night.' The credits are rolling and then the monkey tried to kill me."

Footage from the older episode was then shown to illustrate the story.

Bateman can be seen kneeling down to praise the chimp, which opened its mouth and lunged at his face, causing the actor to recoil.

While most of the cast seemed to miss the moment, SNL player Rachel Dratch, who had been petting the animal, looked surprised, jumped back and put her hands to her face.

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