SNL has decided that despite a global pandemic, the show must go on, so Saturday Night Live returns tonight!
When SNL cast members yell “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” tonight on NBC, it won’t be the Saturday Night Live that we’re used to seeing every weekend. This show is going to look very different tonight. One big change is that the cast won’t be anywhere near Studio 8-H at 30 Rock when the show goes live. And to answer that question in our headline above; no one. No one is hosting the first SNL of the pandemic era.
What you’ll see this evening is the self-isolated version of Saturday Night Live. If SNL – Season 45 had gone as planned, Saturday Night Live would have returned from a scheduled two week break two weekends ago on Saturday, March 28th with host John Krasinski, better known as “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” on Amazon Prime and even better known as Jim Halpert from America’s version of “The Office.” Of course, that didn’t happen. A people-hating, fun-stopping, ass-face virus got in the way.
NBC made the SNL announcement this past Thursday in a press release and on social media that the Emmy Award winning variety series would be returning this weekend. Producers are bringing the show back on the air under the banner of the hashtag, #SNLAtHome. The plan for a severely limited version of the show must have come together fairly quickly this past week. As of last Saturday, the announced plan was to run another SNL repeat in tonight’s 11:30pm et time slot. The scheduled rerun was the Saturday Night Live episode recently hosted by John Mulaney from February 29th.
In a rather short, four-line press release, the Peacock Network made it clear that even though SNL was returning with new content this evening, the variety show is strictly practicing social distancing and the show would be remotely produced and performed with material emanating from the cast members’ home bases.
To emphasis the point that Saturday Night Live‘s cast would be staying home to do the show this week, the SNL Twitter account sent out a post featuring a montage photo of all the repertory and featured players self-isolating in their own homes. And they’re obviously not quarantining with any of the employees from the makeup department. On the bright side, it looks like we’re going to get a peek inside some great NYC apartments.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) April 9, 2020
We’re just guessing that a lot of the sketches and bits SNL does tonight will be done in the fashionable Manhattan and Brooklyn apartments of the SNL cast members. Oh, and of course in Pete Davidson’s lady trap basement on Staten Island. And while SNL promised “original content” from its cast members, we can’t rule out that some of this content will include introducing “Best Of” bits from SNL‘s 45 year history.
Most likely the new stuff we get from Saturday Night Live will be focused on the Coronavirus Outbreak and the self-quarantining going on across the nation and world, along with all the craziness tied in along with the pandemic. There’s sure to be moments of sadness as well.
It’s hard to imagine that Saturday Night Live‘s grand return to live television after the season was derailed by a virus, would happen without SNL paying tribute to the people they’ve lost to Covid-19. Tonight, we expect to see the show recognizing the loss of one of its cherished music producers, Hal Willner who passed away from what is suspected to be Coronavirus complications this past Tuesday, April 7th.
Hal Willner became integral part of Saturday Night Live when he joined the show in 1980. He was still currently working on SNL, 40 years later, when he took sick. Hal Willner’s rep Blake Zidell told USAToday that Hal’s death was due to complications from “symptoms consistent with COVID-19.” Hal was never officially diagnosed with the Coronavirus. He passed away at his home in New York City’s Upper West Side.
Part of Hal’s four decade career with Saturday Night Live included picking out specific music for the sketches. Paula Pell, an SNL writer who worked closely with Hal on the show called him, “the gentlest genius at SNL” in her Twitter tribute to him. In a testament to what kind of guy Hal Willner was, the last tweet he sent out after already being in bed sick was to send love to music great John Prine who was in critical condition at that time before he passed away.
Beyond SNL, Hal Willner was a Grammy Award winning record producer who worked with a variety of music superstars including Lou Reed (who counted Hal as one of his closest friends,) the Neville Brothers, Marianne Faithfull, and Leon Redbone, among others. He also collaborated with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Elvis Costello, Deborah Harry, Dr. John, Leonard Cohen, Chuck D, Michael Stipe, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, and Ringo Starr.
Another SNL loss to the Coronavirus was deeply personal for Weekend Update co-anchor, co-head writer and cast member Michael Che who lost his grandmother to the Covid-19 virus last Sunday evening, April 5th. Che announced that his grandmother had passed in a since deleted Instagram post.
The New York Daily News quoted Michael Che’s comments regarding the loss of his grandma and the emotions he’s been dealing with since her passing. Che wrote, “I’m obviously very hurt and angry that she had to go through all that pain alone, but I’m also happy that she’s not in pain anymore.” The Weekend Update anchorman added, “I also feel guilty for feeling happy. Basically the whole gamut of complex feelings everybody else has for losing someone very close and special.”
Much of the focus on tonight’s Saturday Night Live return will be on Michael Che along with his co-anchor and co-head writer Colin Jost and Weekend Update. NBC’s press release announcing SNL‘s return mentioned Weekend Update ahead of everything else happening this evening.
And if Weekend Update is the main attraction of SNL‘s first show back, then the Coronavirus will be the number one topic of discussion on Saturday Night Live‘s funny newscast. Of course, Jost and Che will completely go after Weekend Update Enemy #1, Donald J. Trump, the only person who can use his own hair as a protective mask, that’s if he decided to wear one.
Besides the virus itself, other things at the top of the Weekend Update agenda tonight will most likely include quarantining, hoarding, and “Tiger King” -ing. Because you know Colin Jost and Michael Che aren’t going to make it through all of Weekend Update without mentioning our isolated nation’s utter fascination with the popular Netflix docu-series and its star, Joe Exotic. Make your bets now on who is going to play the zookeeper turned imprisoned attempted murderer.
Naturally, the part of the “Tiger King” should go to former SNL cast member Martin Short. He’d make a perfect Joe Exotic. However, if Saturday Night Live stays in-house with their pick to play the “Tiger King,” the smart money would be Kyle Mooney.
While discussing Trump tonight, the Weekend Update hosts can go in a variety of different directions including the multiple “alternative facts” (lies) he’s told regarding the Coronavirus. There’s also Trump refusing to wear a medical mask in public even though it would be safe, sensible and wouldn’t smudge his orange spray tan that badly. There’s also Dr. Fauci becoming a national celebrity from his appearances with President Trump along with his openly disagreeing with Nutsy’s misstatements, and there’s Congress approving record relief funding and sending out badly needed checks to Americans that Trump was insisting on signing himself.
Other political figures in the news that could find themselves on Weekend Update‘s radar tonight include Senator Bernie Sanders dropping out of the Democratic race for President which will shut down the need for any more primaries and lock up the nomination for former Veep Joe Biden. Plus, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who’s had a back-and-forth battle with the Coronavirus that put him in ICU for awhile. And of course, we’ll see if Jost and Che can pass up the opportunity to report on the rumor that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo secretly has nipple rings.
Besides the number of celebrities diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus, Update could also discuss the famous names in the news because of their reaction to the virus, like Roseanne Barr claiming the Coronavirus is a plot to kill seniors like her, and Dr. Drew issuing a full apology for downplaying the seriousness of the virus & likening it to the flu with the quack being able to get a super-cut of all his stupid comments pulled off of YouTube, and famous exes, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore isolating….together. Oooh.
Colin Jost and Michael Che may have some punchlines tonight regarding some of the national side-effects to the Coronavirus and social-distancing. For instance, pot and booze use reaching all time highs (literally) during these days of self-isolation, along with teenagers skipping online school since the real thing shut down, plus, “Let’s Make a Deal” becoming a daytime hit since people are trapped at home all day, Disney announcing future plans for reopening its theme parks may include taking guests’ temperature as they enter, and best of all, the nightly cheers and applause for NYC nurses, doctors, first responders & healthcare workers from residents on their balconies.
Weekend Update could also cover some of the stranger news coming out of the Corona-Crisis such as the Chinese baseball team filling the stands with robots to replace the fans, the Tampa pastor getting arrested for ignoring social distancing orders and filling his church with hundreds of parishioners, and cops in a Louisiana city using the siren from the horror movie “The Purge” to let citizens know that the town curfew was starting.
Finally, there’s the stories that happened while SNL was on an extended break and have absolutely nothing to do with the Pandemic. That’s if Weekend Update has time to get to them. Those stories that could end up as punchlines from Jost & Che include “Modern Family” wrapping after 11 seasons on ABC, a viral video of UFOs flying around our Moon, and Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots after 20 seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then later praising Gronk’s dick, while trademarking the phrase, “Tom-pa Bay” to put on t-shirts. It’ll be fun for Bucs fans to see Tom selling merch outside the stadium on Sundays after the game.
Saturday Night Live returns tonight with #SNLAtHome including a new edition of Weekend Update and new material from the socially distancing SNL cast members, at 11:30pm et on NBC!