In a hastily written and arranged sketch, the show’s cold open joked about the obsession with the object and its subsequent popping earlier on Saturday.
A missile strike sent the balloon into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina.
SNL began its show with a mock news report on the latest developments with MSNBC reporter Katy Tur, played by Chloe Fineman, attempting to provide analysis to viewers.
Tur also had the opportunity to exclusively interview the balloon itself, played by none other than Asian cast member Bowen Yang.
SNL’s cold open was a hastily arranged sketch based on the U.S. military’s downing of a Chinese balloon earlier on Saturday with Bowen Yang playing the downed balloon
SNL began its show with a mock news report on the latest developments with MSNBC reporter Katy Tur, played by Chloe Fineman, attempting provide analysis to viewers with a mock tweet
‘Our long national nightmare is over. We got the balloon,’ Tur announced.
‘The discovery of the massive surveillance balloon earlier this week inflamed already volatile U.S.-Chinese relations, and had many on the right calling the Biden administration’s response soft.
Tur mocked the right-wing hysteria pointing out joke tweets from Donald Trump Jr. saying, ‘If my Dad was President, there would be no balloons!!!!!!’ and one from Marjorie Taylor Greene stating, ‘Look it’s the real moon!’
Tur first interviewed Pentagon official and aviation expert General William Hamilton, played by Kenan Thompson, who announced deadpan: ‘We popped the balloon.’
‘General, we have never seen an object like this gain entry into our airspace before. How did that happen?’, Tur asked.
Hamilton answered, ‘That’s an excellent question, Katy. The balloon was somehow able to get past our West Coast anti-balloon defense system — the Seattle Space Needle.
‘But once it was here, we were able to keep an eye on it with our sophisticated tracking technology of going like this,’ he stated while looking up, to laughter from the audience.
Tur first interviewed Pentagon official and aviation expert General William Hamilton, played by Kenan Thompson, who announced deadpan: ‘We popped the balloon’
The General explained how the military were able to keep track of the balloon by… looking up!
The General showed a 3D rendering of the balloon which turned out to be a blow up toy balloon.
‘I want everyone to know that we will not tolerate any form of Chinese spying,’ the General said. ‘But to be honest, they have everything they need from TikTok, so scroll away kids!’
Tur then turned to the remains of the balloon itself, with whom the network had secured a live interview.
‘Well, ya got me! Congrats, you shot a balloon,’ Yang’s balloon mocked.
‘Well, I’m sorry you are in the water, but thank you for speaking to us,’ Tur told the balloon which was being attacked by seagulls.
Yang played the balloon feeling sorry for itself as it floated in the Atlantic being attacked by seagulls
‘I entertain you people for four days but then get shot down by Biden! I can’t believe I’m Joe’s Osama,’ the balloon lamented.
‘What were you doing flying over Montana?’ Tur asked.
‘I love the show Yellowstone, so was just there. It’s like Succession, but outside. Now I’m all wet, so… what a day!’ the balloon responded.
‘I’m actually surprised you’re still floating. Experts were saying you’re the size of three buses,’ Tur noted.
‘Okay. Ouch. I’m a balloon, so, that’s my body. How would you like it if someone measured your width in buses? Sorry I am not camera ready,’ the balloon responded tersely, seemingly taking offense at the weight comment.
‘I’m sorry, people were worried that they were being spied on,’ Tur stated.
‘By me, a balloon. Everyone is being surveilled constantly but it’s always “shoot the balloon”, and never unplug Alexa! If you care so much about your data why do you all keep your bank password in your notes app.’
‘Well, we just did what we had to do to protect the security of our country,’ Tur explained.
‘Why? Is everyone freaking out because I’m a Chinese balloon. Because where I come from, I’m just a balloon,’ Yang stated in his quirky costume.
‘You’ve made it very clear that I’m not welcome here, so good job. Let me tell you something. You’re going to miss this Chinese spy balloon — I mean, normal balloon!’
In this photo provided by Chad Fish, a large balloon drifts above the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of South Carolina, with a fighter jet and its contrail seen below it
Back in the real world, just hours before SNL aired, the U.S. military announced how it had shot the balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites across North America.
China insisted the flyover was an accident involving a civilian aircraft and threatened repercussions.
President Joe Biden issued the order but had wanted the balloon downed even earlier, on Wednesday.
He was advised that the best time for the operation would be when it was over water, U.S. officials said.
Military officials determined that bringing it down over land from an altitude of 60,000 feet would pose an undue risk to people on the ground.
The balloon was struck by a missile from an F-22 fighter just off Myrtle Beach, fascinating sky-watchers across a populous area known as the Grand Strand for its miles of beaches that draw retirees and vacationers
China responded that it reserved the right to ‘take further actions’ and criticized the U.S. for ‘an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.’
In its statement Sunday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that ‘China will resolutely uphold the relevant company’s legitimate rights and interests, and at the same time reserving the right to take further actions in response.’
The presence of the balloon in the skies above the U.S. this week dealt a severe blow to already strained U.S.-Chinese relations that have been in a downward spiral for years.
It prompted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to abruptly cancel a high-stakes Beijing trip aimed at easing tensions.
‘They successfully took it down and I want to compliment our aviators who did it,’ Biden said after getting off Air Force One en route to Camp David.
The spectacle had Americans looking to the skies all week, wondering whether the mysterious balloon had floated over them