“Saturday Night Live” bowed to the rising menace of COVID-19, opening its ultimate present of 2021 with a pre-taped section that featured Tom Hanks, Tina Fey, Steve Martin and Kenan Thompson welcoming host Paul Rudd into the “Five-Timers Club.”
Production of tonight’s “SNL” was thrown into disarray late this week when quite a few forged members examined optimistic for COVID-19. Crew members grew to become vocal about considerations of gathering as traditional to supply the dwell broadcast at 30 Rock’s famed Studio 8H, prompting NBC to drop the dwell viewers and use a restricted crew for tonight’s installment.
The episode opened with a “previously recorded” slate as Tom Hanks bounded out on the acquainted stage in a royal blue smoking jacket with an outsized “5” patch over the appropriate breast. Rudd, the beloved comedy character actor, was set to log his fifth time on the helm of “SNL.”
“As you know I started the Five-Timers Club,” Hanks mentioned. “Like you started COVID,” Fey responded.
Tom Hanks and Tina Fey welcome Paul Rudd to the Five-Timers Club! pic.twitter.com/tidzhofdtx
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) December 19, 2021
Hanks defined that the section was recorded earlier Saturday and that the choice had been to scale down the present and go with out an viewers for security’s sake.
“But I wasn’t going to fly across the country and not be on TV,” Hanks quipped earlier than he invited Fey on stage. She joined in the identical jacket with 5 emblem.
Martin, additionally carrying a blue-5 jacket, joined within the salute to Rudd by way of Zoom video. Martin Short, who’s Martin’s co-star in Hulu’s quirky new hit “Only Murders in the Building,” butted into Martin’s shot briefly and famous that he has solely hosted “SNL” thrice.
Thompson, “SNL’s” longest-tenured participant, got here out alongside Rudd to current his jacket. “Congratulations on hosting the show four and a half times,” he mentioned, earlier than serving to him placed on the jacket which did characteristic a full-fledged 5. Hanks ribbed Rudd for his standing as People journal’s newest selection for “Sexiest Man Alive,” because it declared in November, or as Hanks put it “the Most Sexist Man of the Year.” Fey quipped, “Mr. sexy five-timer.”
Rudd mentioned he was “extremely disappointed” by the flip of occasions. He defined that the present can be full of segments taped earlier within the week and some vacation “SNL” traditional bits chosen by him and others. Among them was 2006’s early viral video hit “Dick in a Box” that includes Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake.
Rudd additionally launched a section “that we finished at 5 a.m.,” a “Raging Bull” spoof that includes Pete Davidson. “An Evening With Pete” featured Davidson, Colin Jost and different “SNL” regulars in an elaborate recreation of moments from the 1980 Martin Scorsese-Robert De Niro masterpiece.
Another classic section that unspooled was a December 1990 sketch that includes Tom Hanks and then-“SNL” trouper Mike Myers taking part in Dean Martin and Carl Sagan, respectively, singing a duet in a pretend TV vacation selection particular with different weird cameos together with shopper advocate Ralph Nader.
Tina Fey and Michael Che ship ‘Weekend Update’
Toward the tip of the present, Fey returned to the principle stage, the place she sat with Michael Che in director’s chairs to ship a stripped-down version of “Weekend Update.” The two delivered the string of one-liners about present occasions to an viewers of three — Hanks, Rudd and Thompson — who sat earlier than them surrounded by largely empty folding chairs.
Among the tales tackled: the NFL’s resolution to mandate boosters for gamers after greater than two dozen examined optimistic for COVID. “Hopefully the [New York] Jets’ booster shots will come with a little bit of steroids,” Che quipped.
The uncommon episode ended with Fey, Hanks, Che, Thompson and Rudd on stage in PPE masks waving goodbye to viewers — a closing scene that often contains a group shot of the massive “SNL” ensemble out of character goofing off for the ultimate bow. “It’s been a crazy week and even crazier day,” Rudd mentioned. The five-some then made exaggerated pantomime efforts to offer each other socially distanced hugs.
The digital camera lingered on a shot of the bare-bones home band, pared all the way down to a sax participant and keyboardist taking part in the present’s jazzy closing-credits theme.
(Pictured: Tina Fey and Tom Hanks)