New Delhi: For the first time since it started in 1975, Saturday Night Live, the popular American late-night live television sketch comedy show, aired its episode remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has infected more than 1.8 million people across the world.
The show was scheduled for a break after its last episode on 7 March, but that got extended for almost a month because of the coronavirus shutdowns. For its first-ever remote episode, the cast performed their comedy sketches on Zoom, the video conferencing app, and the show was hosted by actor Tom Hanks.
Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson were among the first celebrities to test positive for Covid-19. On the show, the Oscar-winning star of movies such as Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, most recently nominated for his role in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, joked, “Ever since being diagnosed, I have been more like America’s dad than ever before, since no one wants to be around me very long and I make people uncomfortable.”
Talking about testing positive for Covid-19 in Australia, Hanks said, “They use Celsius instead of Fahrenheit when they take your temperature. So when I come in and they say, ‘You’re 36,’ which seemed very bad to me, it turns out 36 is fine — 38 is bad. So basically it’s how Hollywood treats female actors.”
The usual opening credits of cast members on the town in Manhattan was replaced with footage of them at home, in their kitchens, hanging out with their children and even in bed. The show included sketches on Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, popularly called RBG.
Sanders, Homer Simpson, PPE kits: SNL covered it all
Starting with a sketch on RBG and her workout regime, actor Kate McKinnon who played the Supreme Court justice said, “I’m very tough. I’m 87 years old. I went to law school during the Spanish flu.” And then she proceeded to do her squats using earbuds as dumbbells.
Larry David, who performed a sketch on Bernie Sanders, the Democrat-President hopeful who dropped out of the race, expressed concern for medical workers who didn’t have the proper protective gear while treating coronavirus patients. “They don’t even have the little key chain that has the bottle of Purell that goes on your purse.”
The sketch on Donald Trump was presented by actor Alec Baldwin, who said he didn’t want to set an example by wearing a face mask to prevent spread because if he does, he might end up looking “like a reverse Homer Simpson”.
And on Covid-19, Baldwin as Trump said, “I’ve always said it was a giant hoax that we should take very seriously. Even though it was invented by the Democrats. Impeachment, Part 2. So everyone needs to wash their hands. Or not.”
The comedy show was received well, with many taking to social media to appreciate the innovative way of hosting a show amid the pandemic.
Emerging out of shadow of Watergate and the economic chaos of New York City in the mid-1970s, #SaturdayNightLive remains a national treasure some 45 yrs. later. We look to #SNL not only for comedy relief, but because it too chronicles our times.#SaturdayNightatHome#TomHanks pic.twitter.com/ZYrLp4A1Gu
— Curtis Stephen (@curtisstephen23) April 12, 2020
— Sarah X Dylan (@sarahxdylan) April 12, 2020
Honestly shout out to all of the content creators who are giving so many of us something to be excited about. They are going through it as well, but are giving the world entertainment that it sorely needs. #SaturdayNightLive #Snl @nbcsnl
— Libby (@libby_lit) April 12, 2020
Covid-19 in the US
After China and Italy, the US became the epicentre of the global pandemic, reporting more than 5.6 lakh cases of Covid-19 and more than 22,000 deaths due to the virus. Among the people who died due to coronavirus was the SNL music producer, Hal Willner.
In the latest episode of the show, the cast, both past and present, paid tribute to Willner, by sharing their personal thoughts on him.
We love you, Hal ❤️ pic.twitter.com/vwdjXteHAa
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) April 12, 2020
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