Saturday Night Live found its success in the unpredictability of live television. The show, created by Lorne Michaels in 1975, has become a staple in the homes of families everywhere as their routine Saturday night TV time. So, when the coronavirus pandemic began, many fans expected the show to take a break. After all, how can you have live television when studios aren’t accessible? While the show did take a brief break, it returned for a pre-taped “at home” variation. Saturday Night Live aired their second at-home episode on April 25th, proving that they can somehow still make it work.
Saturday Night Live Airs Second At-Home Episode
It’s nearly impossible to ignore the way that Donald Trump has been handling this pandemic. Many disagree with his statements on the current situation, attracting attention for his recent statements on the ability to destroy the virus with cleaning products. SNL has always managed to bring hilarity from politics. So, the second at-home episode opened with Brad Pitt portraying Dr. Anthony Fauci commenting on Trump’s statements. This comes after Fauci himself had said that if anyone were to play him, he’d hope for Pitt. The actor, who had never hosted SNL before, managed to capture Fauci’s mannerisms perfectly. He ends the cold-open by taking off his wig and thanking the real Fauci for his ability to remain calm amongst such an uncertain time.
Saturday Night Live has always commented on hot topics in the news, especially political ones. And, as COVID-19 is easily the most newsworthy event to happen in recent history, it’s obvious that they’d focus on it throughout the show. Nearly every skit was coronavirus related, from jokes about the products that won’t sell at the grocery store to doing spin classes at home. Everything they’re saying is relatable and hits close to home. However, the jokes are a bit hard to take in for those who are trying to use humor as a way of escaping the news. If you’re trying to avoid hearing about the virus, this episode is definitely not for you.
The New Format Allows For Genuine Laughs
SNL can often be a hit-or-miss show. While some skits go viral for their hilarious absurdity (you can watch my personal favorite skit, Close Encounters, here), others are so bad that you question how the show has stayed on for so long. This episode manages to have a bit of both. The “Cousin Mandy” skit is a bit too long and obnoxious, and the “What’s My Name?” song doesn’t bring anything new. The highlight of the night for me was watching Kate McKinnon perform a skit with her cat. Anyone quarantined with their pets can relate to how goofy it is, and how much we rely on our pets for fun.
The rest of the skits allow each cast member to showcase why they’re so great. Pete Davidson surprisingly has one of the best moments of the night, rapping about the loneliness and awkward moments of quarantining with your family. He’s joined by Adam Sandler who also understands the feeling. Each piece has very topical bits thrown in to add to the humor, from jokes about Tik Tok to the struggles of teaching your kids while they’re away from school.
Even The Usual Stuff Works
An episode of SNL wouldn’t be complete without a weekend update. Colin Jost and Michael Che do their usual bit with the classic background. Jokes revolve around coronavirus protests and popular at-home trends. Pete Davidson also makes an appearance, joking about how he hasn’t gotten a face tattoo- yet.
Miley Cyrus also joined the episode as the week’s musical guest. She performs a rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” in front of an unexpectedly beautiful and fiery background. She sings the song well and works perfectly as an at-home musical guest, using her natural talent instead of needing to rely on the theatrics of frequent SNL performances.
How Saturday Night Live Can And Can’t Thrive
The second go at putting on the show in this new format was far better than the previous week. The first at-home episode had some fun moments and a respectable monologue by Tom Hanks, though it just didn’t check off all the boxes. It felt awkward and unsure of itself. Though, to be fair, I’m sure this is a format that Lorne Michaels never expected to have to produce. This episode sees more confidence and you can feel that the cast members are settling into the new format.
If the lockdown restrictions and public health risks continue on then Saturday Night Live will need to continue their at-home shows. The format significantly restricts some of the humor, preventing the on-air chemistry of many of the guest stars and cast members. Additionally, watching actors break during a skit can be one of the best and most charming parts. Though, this also gives them a chance to prove their humor. Can they adapt to the new format and continue to thrive? Only time will tell.
So, did you watch Saturday Night Live this week as they aired their second at-home episode? Let us know what you thought, and what your favorite skit was!
Featured image via Saturday Night Live on Facebook.
Meghan Hale is a graduate student living right outside of Toronto, Canada. She has always been the go-to gal for talking about anything film related and has a frustratingly long list of movie trivia up her sleeve. She is currently working on her first screenplay, as well as a horror novel, with the goal of publishing it while Stephen King is still around to read it.