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SNL at Home Shows off the Cast’s Creativity Under Quarantine

Tom Hanks and Chris Martin joined in on the fun.

Last night, the cast and crew of Saturday Night Live made history with their first ever SNL at Home episode. The show featured taped skits and segments that the cast members recorded while under quarantine, and the result was a scrappy, heartfelt, and ultimately moving episode of television.

Kate McKinnon kicked of the show by switching up the signature opening “live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” with “Live from Zoom, it’s sometime between March and August!”, before Tom Hanks came out to host the show from his kitchen, “It’s good to be here, but it’s also weird to be here hosting Saturday Night Live from home,” Hanks remarked. “It is a strange time to try and be funny, but trying to be funny is SNL‘s whole thing, so what the heck, let’s give it a shot.”

Hanks continued, “This Saturday Night Live is going to be a little different, for one thing it’s been filmed entirely by the SNL cast who are currently quarantined in their homes. … Also, there’s no such thing as Saturdays anymore, and we’re not really live, but we’re doing everything we can to make this feel like the SNL you know and love.”

The cast then gamely performed several sketches, trotting out our favorite impressions and characters. Kate McKinnon busted out her Ruth Bader Ginsburg for “RBG’s Workout Corner”, which saw the Supreme Court justice lifting weights (Q-Tips and batteries) and punching tea bags she named Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.

The whole sketch was made all the more delightful by McKinnon’s hand-painted signs and decorations. Several of the sketches featured homemade set decoration and costumes clearly provided from the casts’ own closets. The entire episode had a summer camp talent show vibe as the cast seemed to genuinely be having a good time despite the lack of music, make-up, costumes, and general polish that the series provides.

Chris Martin was the musical guest, singing Bob Dylan’s “Shelter From the Storm” from his home. The episode also featured a special appearance by Larry David as Bernie Sanders, where he discusses his future plans after suspending his presidential campaign. Alec Baldwin’s Trump also swung by via a phone call into Weekend Update.

SNL even brought an animated short with Middle-Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is a must-watch for TMNT fans. The episode was able to capitalize on social media and digital communication apps, with skits set on YouTube, Twitch, and Zoom conference calls. A special shout-out to the editors who layered in the graphics and VFX to elevate the look of each sketch.

But what truly set the show apart was its emotional core. During Weekend Update, Michael Che gave a heartfelt tribute to his grandmother, who passed away earlier in the week.

SNL also brought old and new cast members together for a tribute to Hal Willner, the show’s beloved long-time music producer. Several cast members sand Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” in his honor.

Hopefully this won’t be the last SNL at Home we see. The special episode was a welcome return to normalcy and silliness during these troubled times.

(image: screencap/NBC)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.