Comic relief? ‘Saturday Night Live’ returns with remote episode

Tribune Content Agency

This should be interesting. At a time when the country is greatly in need of a few laughs, “Saturday Night Live” will return this weekend with a remotely produced installment.

NBC’s late-night sketch comedy show is set to air the installment at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT Saturday. “SNL,” which suspended production amid the novel coronavirus crisis, will produce new material remotely while continuing to practice social distancing.

The episode will include the popular “Weekend Update” segment as well as other original content from “SNL” cast members. There will not be a host.

It appears to be an experiment for now as NBC has yet to establish a weekly schedule for the show going forward. “SNL” hasn’t produced new episodes since the Daniel Craig-hosted March 7 episode because of the spread of the coronavirus. The show had been scheduled to return March 28 with John Krasinski as the host and Dua Lipa as the musical guest.

The news comes as many late night and syndicated daytime talk shows have returned featuring hosts and special guests recording from home as the industry continues to deploy conferencing technology, like Zoom, to keep sheltered-in-place audiences entertained.

The return of “SNL” could be a welcome dose of levity, especially for viewers in the show’s home base of New York City, where COVID-19 infections and deaths have ravaged the community.

Since its first season in 1975, “SNL” has had many opportunities to address the nation in times of crisis and/or somber news. The first episode of “SNL”‘s 27th season aired 18 days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City.

The show’s opening that night featured a moving monologue by then-mayor Rudy Giuliani (who had urged executive producer Lorne Michaels not to delay the season’s launch), and a performance of “The Boxer” by Paul Simon.

After Giuliani’s monologue, Michaels stepped on stage to ask him if it was OK for the show to be funny again. “Why start now?” Giuliani responded.


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