Saturday Night Live at Home provides comfort and laughs

Kenan Thompson (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images)
Kenan Thompson (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images) /

Saturday Night Live at Home was a solid production that gave the audience what it needed.

Writing, performing, and producing an episode of Saturday Night Live isn’t easy under normal circumstances. Putting together a completely remote episode during a pandemic is a challenge on a whole other level. But that’s exactly what Saturday Night Live at Home did, rising to the occasion and providing some much-needed laughter.

Saturday Night Live at Home was unlike anything else in the show’s 45 year history. Social distancing and quarantining guidelines made it impossible to film anything with a cast and crew the size of SNL’s.

So after taking some time to figure out how it could go forward, SNL got back to basics with a DIY approach. Cast members were tasked with filming themselves and without the aid of a live audience.

All things considered, it was a solid production and one worthy of applause. With limited resources and props, as well as no hair, makeup and costume departments, sketches were still entertaining and original. SNL also managed to thread in a message of hope and encouragement, delivered by host Tom Hanks.

Having Tom Hanks as the Saturday Night Live at Home host was a welcomed surprise. It seems like a lifetime ago that we heard Hanks and wife Rita Wilson were diagnosed with COVID-19. As one of the first high-profile figures to test positive, Hanks’ diagnosis brought increased attention from the general public to the novel coronavirus. Seeing Hanks, one of the most beloved actors in the world, stand in front of the camera to entertain and inspire the audience was the highlight of the episode.

When the sketches started SNL decided to keep things on the lighter side. It was a guarantee that the show would parody the Zoom conference calls happening all over the country. The sketch has no doubt been shared countless times already and is closing in on two million YouTube views.

The challenges of life in quarantine were also the subject of “How Low Will You Go?,” a dating game show for these bizarre times. Ego Nwodim, Heidi Gardner, and Aidy Bryant perfectly portray how stir-crazy many of us are getting in quarantine and the eagerness, or desperation, to interact with other people.

In the episode preview for Saturday Night Live at Home, Last Night On said to keep an eye out for celebrity cameos. The most obvious appearance was Larry David as Senator Bernie Sanders. It required virtually no change in appearance for David as he answered questions as Sanders while announcing the end to his campaign.

SNL alum Fred Armisen also popped up to help Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney. With limited means of filming sketches, don’t be surprised to see some of Bennett and Mooney’s sketches that have been cut for time this season make it to air. If not, it sounds like they are staying busy and cookin’ on some stuff:

Was this an incredible episode of Saturday Night Live? No, it wasn’t nor will it be remembered as one of season 45’s best. But it was the best episode that SNL could do right now and it was more than enough for the audience. Fans have seen other late night shows return, providing escapism and taking the pandemic head-on. But something was missing with SNL still on the sidelines.

It may not always be on top of its game but Saturday Night Live can still reflect society’s collective mood better than anything else in entertainment. The show did that over the weekend while also delivering a message of hope and unity that was needed just as much as the laughs.

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What did you think of Saturday Night Live at Home? What were your favorite sketches of the night? Let us know in the comments below and keep checking Last Night On for more news, updates, and highlights.