Saturday Night Live is taking a week off before returning on Feb. 4th.
SNL has aired just two episodes so far in 2017, but the NBC show is already taking a break despite coming back from hiatus only two weeks ago. The late-night program will be back on Feb. 4 with first-time host Kristen Stewart and musical guest Alessia Cara.
The sketch series returned to season low ratings on Jan. 7 with Rogue One star Felicity Jones as host, but bounced back last Saturday night with Aziz Ansari, drawing its highest rated episode since the Nov. 12 episode hosted by Dave Chapelle. Like that installment, last week’s episode was helped not only by the strong following and talents of a well-known stand-up comedian, but also because they followed major national events, with the most recent episode falling the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, and the one in November being the first since the election.
Ansari tackled the swearing-in of the new president and the subsequent Women’s March protests earlier that day in NYC and across the globe in his opening monologue, where he also called out the small segment of Trump voters who feel like they could now be openly racist. And while the show’s political cold open was missing Alec Baldwin as Trump — with Beck Bennett’s Vladimir Putin subbing for the president — the actor will return on Feb. 11th to host an entire episode, his 17th time presiding over the show, adding to his record as most frequent host. Interestingly, next week’s host also has a Trump connection: Stewart recently noted that the president was “really obsessed with me” during her public breakup with Robert Pattinson, calling her out for being a cheater on Twitter, even though he’s been known for being less than faithful to his spouses.
SNL recently got in a bit of hot water when staff writer Katie Rich was suspended for a tweet directed at the president’s youngest son Barron, where she suggested that he would be “this country’s first homeschool shooter.” Trump called her a “disgrace” in a recent interview with Sean Hannity and continued his attacks on the show and Baldwin’s portrayal of him in sketches. It’s unclear how long the suspension will last, but many in the comedy community have already come to her defense, with Community and Rick & Morty creator Dan Harmon offering her a job if she were to be let go by Saturday Night Live.
SNL returns next Saturday, Feb. 4th at 11:30 p.m. on NBC. Tonight’s encore episodes will include a “classic” 2013 episode hosted by Christoph Waltz at 10 p.m. followed by a repeat of the Kristen Wiig-hosted episode from November in its normal time slot.