The ground pangolin stopped in the long, swaying grass of the African veld, and turned to face a visiting reporter who had just asked him if he was aware that a virus that appears to have originated in his species has infected tens of thousands of humans, and may yet infect countless more.
“Oh yes,” he said scratching his long nose in what is generally considered to be the universal pangolin signal that it would like some space, “And there’s a lot more where that came from if you and the rest of your horde of hairless planet destroyers don’t leave us, and all of the other animals: The fuck. Alone.”
Prized for being trapped on this planet with us, pangolins are like all creatures that have come into direct contact with human beings: immediately and horribly exploited.
Researchers say they wouldn’t test the armoured mammals.
“Or eat them. It really isn’t worth it,” says Dr. Haffa Napal, at the Kenyan Center For Not Devouring Everything You Voracious Psychopaths.
“Apart from the possibility of contracting an exotic disease, when thinking about chewing a pangolin you have to ask yourself, really? The first clue that these guys probably don’t want to be consumed is that they are covered in hundreds of tiny shields. Which sort of screams, ‘Find something else to eat. Have you tried the cassava?’”
Equipped with a tongue that is longer than its body, the pangolin is considered especially well-equipped to spread diseases that will make the entire human race wish they’d listened to Joaquin Phoenix, and become vegans while they had the chance.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the pangolin said that he’d prefer to not go into the specifics of the diseases his species stands ready to unleash on a particular predator with a penchant for cruise ships and living in extremely close proximity to one another.
“But let’s just say they’ll make that relatively benign respiratory disease that you are all hopelessly trying to quarantine right now look like a sniffle. You think coronavirus is bad? Wait until you find out about Pangola.”
As Aidy Bryant (dressed as a snowman) was wrapping up the segment with jokes about the dinner-table debates, McKinnon appeared as the Swedish climate-activist teenager, who said she also had a “Christmas message.”
“In 10 years, this snowman won’t exist,” McKinnon warned, gesturing to Bryant’s character. “Santa, reindeer, the North Pole, all of it, gone. The ice caps will melt and the elves will drown.”
She continued, “So, merry maybe our last Christmas to all. And Donald Trump, step to me, and I’ll come at you like a plastic straw comes at a turtle. I can’t believe I”m saying this to a 70-year-old man, but grow up!”
The skit comes after Thunberg made headlines for being named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” which prompted a negative reaction from President Donald Trump.
“So ridiculous,” Trump tweeted. “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
Thunberg responded swiftly, changing her Twitter profile to read: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
The teen has received an outpouring of praise and support since she earned the coveted title from Time.
Former first lady Michelle Obama had words of wisdom to share with Thunberg and took to Twitter to share her support.
“.@GretaThunberg, don’t let anyone dim your light. Like the girls I’ve met in Vietnam and all over the world, you have so much to offer us all. Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on,” Obama tweeted early Friday.
Leonardo DiCaprio posted a video on Instagram of Thunberg and congratulated her on the honor, including Time’s description of why she was selected. Actress Alyssa Milano, meanwhile, bashed Trump for his reaction.
Contributing: David Jackson, Leora Arnowitz