Saturday Night Live

‘SNL' From Home Lets Cast Get Creative as Tom Hanks Hosts

Cast members were handed the reigns as homemade skits evoked the spirit of "Saturday Night Live"

Saturday Night Live Cast during a Zoom call
"Saturday Night Live"/Zoom

Like many other late night shows, "Saturday Night Live" returned from its pre-lockdown hiatus this week to offer a compilation of homemade skits where the cast, host and musical guest all performed from the comfort of their own homes.

Actor Tom Hanks opened the show from his kitchen, calling the experience “very weird.” After thanking the sound engineers for the cheering sound effects, Hanks, who called himself the “celebrity canary in the coal mine,” recounted some of his experience being one of the first widely publicized cases of a celebrity with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“Ever since being diagnosed, I’ve been more like America’s dad than ever before: No one wants to be around me very long, and I make people uncomfortable,” Hanks joked.

Though Hanks admitted “It is a strange time to try to be funny,” he conceded "being funny is SNL’s whole thing."

Still, Hanks added some somber words of hope: “We are in this for the duration and we will get through this together.”

Pete Davidson was able to premier his new track, “Drake Song,” in which Davidson raps from his mom’s basement and cycles through Drake’s most well-known tropes, like missing his ex and being #1 on the billboard.

Kate McKinnon reprised her iconic Ruth Bader Ginsburg impersonation for “Working Out at Home With RBG.” After introducing her punching bags as “Kavanaugh” and “Gorsuch,” RBG admits that she’s training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed until 2021 at the earliest. 

“I’m gonna do mental gymnastics -- to figure out why they cut the 2018 pandemic response team,” McKinnon's Ginsburg said referring to how several top White House advisers with expertise in global pandemics were dismissed or quit.

Larry David returned to "SNL" as Sen. Bernie Sanders, answering questions about his campaign after Sanders suspended his presidential campaign, paving the way for a Joe Biden nomination. David's Sanders came out as a strong advocate of the half-wave as an alternative to handshakes and high-fives. 

“It’s 50% hello! And 50% go away,” David said. 

Weekend Update hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che tuned in to the show from their homes to give this week’s specialized version of the beloved segment. This version of Weekend Update laid bare what the segment is about: good jokes on relevant topics.  

Michael Che kicked it off by saying, “We got some jokes, and we’re gonna just tell some, see what you guys think.”

The hosts were also joined by Alec Baldwin’s President Donald Trump, who repeatedly praised himself for the job he’s done and gave some straightforward advice: “Wash your hands — or don’t.”

Michael Che sadly announced that his grandmother passed away this week, but said coming back to work with Jost made him feel better. Che said his grandmother loved when the two would joke swap, and asked Jost to read a provocative joke that Pete Davidson had written for him. 

Coldplay singer Chris Martin gave a soulful rendition of Bob Dylan’s "Shelter From the Storm" from a home studio.

The episode left off on a melancholy note where the cast and crew said goodbye to music producer Hal Willner, who passed away this week from complications potentially due to COVID-19. Willner had symptoms associated with the disease though he was not officially diagnosed. The 64-year-old virtuoso was responsible for much of the music scoring and production on "SNL."

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