Coronavirus | Featured Stories

“SNL” Returns for Quarantine Version with Host Tom Hanks

NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” returned to the air for the first time in a month over the weekend.

The comedy show’s first “quarantine version” was hosted by coronavirus pioneer Tom Hanks, along with Coldplay singer Chris Martin and the entire cast calling in with jokes from their homes.

“It is good to be here, though it also very weird to be here hosting `Saturday Night Live’ at home,” Hanks said, while speaking from his kitchen. “It is a strange time to try and be funny, but trying to be funny is `SNL’s whole thing.”

Hanks, along with wife Rita Wilson, was among the first to test positive for the virus. They recovered while in Australia.

The show’s “cold open” showed all cast members arrayed in an onscreen gallery on the “Zoom” app, a situation that is now familiar to many working from home.

“Live from Zoom,” Kate McKinnon said. “It’s sometime between March and August.”

Pete Davidson made a mock Drake video, while McKinnon portrayed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doing a workout routine from home.

“Every day I eat half a chicken,” she said. “Sorry, chickpea.”

Larry David impersonate the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, who dropped out of the presidential race last week.

“Don’t worry about me,” he said. “It’s spring in Vermont, so soon it will be up to 40 degrees. And I finally have the time to relax and finish that heart attack from October.”

The show maintained its traditional structure with a musical guest and “Weekend Update.” Martin, on acoustic guitar, played a version of Bob Dylan’s “Shelter From the Storm.”

Alec Baldwin, portraying President Trump, called in to “Weekend Update.” He mentioned that “every night at 7 p.m. all of New York claps and cheers for the great job I’m doing,” a reference to the nightly tribute to medical workers.

While the episode mentioned coronavirus several times, the pandemic was mostly touched on through messages about the importance of social distancing and washing one’s hands. Hanks says the overarching message of the episode was that everyone was in this together.

“SNL” also included a tribute to music producer Hal Willner, who scored music for many years on the show and last week after showing symptoms that were consistent with the coronavirus.

The show has set a rerun of the John Mulaney/David Byrne episode for the April 18 episode, although several weeks remain in the traditional broadcast television season.