For the first time in 45 years of broadcasting, the beloved actors and comedians from the Saturday Night Live television show filmed an entire episode from the comfort of their quarantined homes.
It has been a month since the show stopped airing new episodes as a means of respecting social distancing amidst the COVID-19 outbreaks. Earlier this week, however, the cast finally rejoined audience members by contributing all of the episode’s sketches and clips from home.
The SNL cast members were not the only ones rejoining the public sphere; Tom Hanks—who has hosted a number of episodes in the past—kicked off the historic episode with a monologue discussing his brief hospitalization and recovery from the novel coronavirus in Australia.
“Ever since being diagnosed, I have been more like America’s dad than ever before,” Hanks said, “since no one wants to be around me very long and I make people uncomfortable.”
Furthermore, the cast was joined by previous comedic guest stars such as Larry David and Alec Baldwin, as well as Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, John Mulaney, Adam Sandler, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler for a solemn musical memorial tribute to the show’s longtime musical director Hal Willner.
Regardless of the turbulent circumstances surrounding the show’s release, Hanks reassured viewers that the show was made with the intention of bringing some much-needed joy, laughter, and unity to the internet.
“Is it going to look a little different than what you’re used to?” he asked the camera. “Yes. Will it be weird to see sketches without big sets and costumes? Sure. But will it make you laugh? Eh—it’s SNL. There’ll be some good stuff, maybe one or two stinkers. You know the drill.”