SNL Delivered Their First-Ever Remotely Produced Episode
Joining their late-night, weeknight comedy brothers and sisters in delivering episodes from home, Saturday Night Live filed their first remotely produced episode during the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the large ensemble, highly complex sets, celebrity hosts and musical guests, SNL is a very hard show to pull off remotely. You can’t just whip up an instant classic digital short like Grouch via Zoom. And while the wildly talented cast can elicit laughs from just about anywhere, the folks that build the sets, create the costumes, and control the cameras are a huge part of what makes SNL work.
Yet SNL delivered something special this past Saturday night regardless. The cast filmed their performances in their own homes and sent those sketches to SNL‘s excellent post-production team. These were then edited into a reasonable facsimile of a proper episode, all the more lovable for the DIY quality and the fact that SNL was doing their level best to deliver some much-needed laughs in the midst of a global crisis.
The episode was opened by none other than Tom Hanks, who contracted the virus along with his wife, Rita Wilson while filming in Australia. Hanks became the celebrity face for a pandemic that, at the time (mid-March), many people still didn’t quite believe was going to be this bad. “There’s no such thing as Saturdays anymore,” Hanks said. “Every day is today.” He then went on to assure us that this episode wouldn’t be that different from what we’ve come to know and love about the show. “There’ll be some good stuff, maybe one or two stinkers; you know the drill.”
What made it all work was the esprit de corps on display. The cast gamely went it for, shaky cameras and no live audience be damned. The episode included a hilarious sketch about our new normal, the Zoom video conference, an insanely funny “MasterClass” bit which Chloe Fineman did her unbeatable Timothée Chalamet impression, and a glance at Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s workout routine.
If you missed this deeply charming episode, we’ve embedded some highlights for you below.
Featured image: The ‘Zoom Call’ sketch on SNL’s first remotely-filmed episode ever. Courtesy NBC.