‘SNL’ Scales Back Holiday Episode With Paul Rudd After Covid-19 Outbreak
In an announcement posted the day of its airing, Saturday Night Live revealed that its last episode of 2021 will be shooting without an audience, and with a limited cast and crew, due to rising cases of the Omicron variant in New York City. The show posted the following to its official Twitter account:
Due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience for tonight’s taping of “Saturday Night Live” and the show will have limited cast and crew.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) December 18, 2021
A following tweet also said that “The show continues to follow all government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol.” While show host Paul Rudd still took to the much-quieter stage for a Cold Open and to introduce some sketches, musical guest Charli XCX was unable to perform at all Saturday night.
In the Cold Open, Rudd celebrated his fifth time hosting the show with other five-time SNL hosts Tina Fey and Tom Hanks. Rudd even received a funny video message from another five-timer, Steve Martin, and managed to keep the show moving despite how unusual of an episode it was.
Kenan Thompson and Weekend Update co-host Michael Che were the only main cast members to make an appearance in the SNL studio, populating the audience as well. The show aired several pre-taped sketches, the highlight being “HomeGoods” with Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon.
Along with their pre-taped sketches, SNL aired some favorite holiday sketches from seasons past, including The Lonely Island’s “Dick In A Box” music video, and the old Steve Martin monologue “Steve Martin’s Holiday Wish.”
Fey even got to flex her Weekend Update chops again when she took Colin Jost‘s place for a stripped-back rendition of the show’s current events segments. They sat back in Director’s Chairs on the main stage taking turns spitting out topical gags. Even though it’s been a while since we’ve seen Fey behind the Update desk and she stumbled on delivery occasionally, she had a great rapport with Che.
Saturday Night Live has not confirmed any hosts or musical guests for their 2022 episodes, and it remains to be seen whether the Omicron surge will necessitate further delaying of show tapings.
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