As New York was hit with the Omicron variant, so was Saturday Night Live. Seemingly overnight, many live events, shows, and concerts were canceled in New York City, but SNL continued its broadcast with an unconventional show.
The SNL holiday show was set to be hosted by Paul Rudd with musical guest Charli XCX on the night of December 18. Hours before the show, NBC announced that out of “an abundance of caution,” the show would tape with no audience and a “limited cast and crew.” Shortly after the announcement, Charli XCX said that she would not be performing on the veteran sketch show.
Rudd however did appear on the show along with Tina Fey and Tom Hanks who are part of the so-called “five-timers club,” which consists of a small group of celebrities who have hosted the show five times or more. The show started with Fey and Hanks inducting Rudd into the club as this week’s show was his fifth time hosting before introducing a mix of new prerecorded sketches and past favorite sketches with holiday themes.
Michael Che and Kenan Thompson also appeared on the show. Most of the cast was “sent home” except for the two comedy veterans. Che and Fey hosted a less structured version on Weekend Update. The two appeared on the main stage to read out the usual type of jokes to Hanks, Rudd and Thompson in the audience. The cast also introduced classic sketches such as “D*** in a Box” and “Christmastime for the Jews” and a 1990 sketch called “The Global Warming Christmas Special.”
This is not the first time the Covid-19 pandemic affected SNL. The pandemic canceled several episodes during the 2019-20 season and forced the show to finish the season with sketches taped by cast members at home. However, since the beginning of the 2020-21 season, SNL has gone back to filming in its studio in 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The holiday episode usually marks the beginning of the show’s hiatus so it is unclear if further shows will be affected after the break.
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