Saturday Night Live returned to TV screens this week with alumnus Pete Davidson hosting the show for the first time.
Davidson, who joined the cast in 2014, left SNL last year.
As well as filming a parody version of the Barbie movie’s “I’m Just Ken” called “I’m Just Pete” and addressing the Israel-Gaza crisis in his cold open, the actor and comedian also starred in a bizarre sketch that namechecked an even more peculiar news story from earlier this year.
In a spoof of WIRED magazine’s popular Autocomplete Interview viral video series, Davidson played a character called “Zach Elliot”, taking part in a promotion for a fictitious Marvel & Disney Plus TV show.
During the sketch, the other characters were asked safe and predictable questions. The central gag was that Elliot was revealed to be and continually asked about being “the guy who lost full control of his bowels on that Delta flight and the plane had to turn around?”
This refers to the story from last month when a Delta Airlines Airbus A350 was forced to turn back only two hours into its flight after a passenger experienced severe diarrhea.
Footage shared online showed that the sick passenger had caused a mess throughout the plane, reported The Guardian, which forced the flight from Atlanta to Spain to return home.
Crews reportedly spent five hours cleaning the plane before passengers, including the one who had suffered the bout of diarrhea, were let back onboard.
They added “We had a passenger who had diarrhea all the way through the airplane so they want us to come back to Atlanta.”
In the SNL sketch, “Zach Elliot” is asked a series of specific questions about the incident such as whether the smell was “so bad on Delta flight that oxygen masks came down?” and why he went “to the bathroom in his seat instead of using the airplane toilet?”
However, the passenger who was sick on the Delta flight has not been named. Zach Elliot is a fictitious character, as are the other characters in the sketch.
Although a number of articles appeared after the SNL sketch which appeared to suggest that Zach Elliot was the name of the Delta passenger, these appear to simply have been attempts to capitalize on the attention from SNL and Davidson.
SNL chose to forego its typical cold open parodying the week’s news, with Davidson instead delivering a solemn message addressing the Israel-Hamas conflict.
“This week, we saw the horrible images and stories from Israel and Gaza,” Davidson said.
“And I know what you’re thinking, who better to comment on it than Pete Davidson? Well, in a lot of ways, I am a good person to talk about it because when I was 7 years old, my dad was killed in a terrorist attack. So I know something about what that’s like.” Davidson’s father, Scott Davidson, was a New York City firefighter who died in the 9/11 attacks.