Saturday Night Live parodied the Chinese spy balloon in its cold open: NPR

The Chinese balloon was featured in a skit on the latest episode of “Saturday Night Live” on February 4.

Larry Mayer/AP

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Larry Mayer/AP

“Saturday Night Live” kicked off last night’s show by spoofing the latest alleged threat to national security: a Chinese balloon.

The balloon, which the Biden administration believes the Chinese government was using for surveillance, became an internet celebrity when people started tracking its movements through US airspace. China’s Foreign Ministry said the balloon was for meteorological research and accidentally drifted away. But his presence led Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone a trip to Beijing amid rising tensions between the two nations.

The US military shot down the balloon off South Carolina on Saturday – a move the Chinese government has called an overreaction. Hours later, the downed balloon became the subject of SNL’s cold open.


The skit begins with Chloe Fineman playing MSNBC host Katy Tur and detailing criticism from Republicans who said President Biden should have allowed the ball to go missing sooner.

A Pentagon official, played by Kenan Thompson, struggled to keep a straight face as he recounted the shooting while using a happy birthday balloon as a prop. The skit ends with an exclusive interview of the downed balloon, played by Bowen Yang.

Yang, who previously described the iceberg that sank the Titanic, joked that his presence in the sky would be missed by Americans.

“You made it very clear that I’m not welcome here, so good job,” Yang said. “But let me tell you something: you’re going to miss this Chinese spy balloon – I mean, a normal balloon, damn it.”


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