Saturday Night Live is back this weekend, but not in studio 8H in 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Like so many other late-night programs, SNL is airing monologues and segments made at home, with the cast and crew practicing appropriate social distancing. Fans can still tune in to watch at the usual time.
SNL has been off since March 7, when the last episode was hosted by Daniel Craig with musical guest The Weeknd. The show was scheduled for a two-week break, but during that time the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., and social distancing began in earnest. The cast and crew never returned to work, but now they will adapt to working from home for the first time ever.
Other shows have had rocky roads to broadcasting from home — The Late Show with Stephen Colbert made a joke out of an audio connectivity issue with guest Daniel Radcliffe, for example, and hosts like Seth Meyers have tried out various settings within their homes to find one that is just right. For SNL, all of these problems will be amplified, and it is unclear how they will be solved.
NBC announced SNL's made-at-home show on Thursday, though the network provided very few details about how the whole thing would work. It will reportedly include a new version of the "Weekend Update" segment made at home, as well as "other original content from SNL cast members." So far, there is no word on whether any of these segments will be performed live or pre-recorded.
It is not even clear how long the new episode will be, although it will begin at the usual time. To see this historic new episode of SNL for yourself, tune in to NBC at 11:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 11.
With many Americans at home in self-isolation or quarantine, NBC is clearly hoping to get this unique take on SNL trending this weekend. On Thursday, the official SNL Twitter account posted a screenshot of most of the cast grinning at each other in a massive video conference call. It included the hashtag "SNL At Home," which will presumably pop up again as the show gets underway.
While the show itself has been off, the cast has not been entirely idle. Melissa Villaseñor, for example, has been posting impressions, other videos and drawings on Twitter, to the delight of her followers. She has already done spot-on impressions of John Mulaney, Sebastian Maniscalco and Jennifer Lopez in quarantine, and has done live shows with Mike Birbiglia and others over video chat. Hopefully, if Villaseñor's output is any indication of what "SNL at home" will like, it will be a must-see show.