COVID-19 struck Saturday Night Live once again over the weekend, when numerous cast members tested positive for the virus, leaving producer Lorne Michaels and his staff to quickly cobble together a show using a combination of pre-taped sketches and highlights from previous Christmas shows.
The show was forced to go on without an audience “due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution,” producers tweeted Saturday afternoon.
The episode opened with a “previously recorded” graphic, followed by Tom Hanks, and later Tina Fey, taking the stage to welcome host Paul Rudd into the “five-timers” club — an honor bestowed upon guests celebrating their fifth time hosting the show.
“As you know, I started the Five-Timers Club,” Hanks said. “Like you started COVID,” Fey responded, referring to Hanks’ COVID-19 infection in March of 2020.
Steve Martin and his Only Murders in the Building co-star Martin Short also appeared via a Zoom video to mark the occasion. SNL‘s longest-tenured cast member, Kenan Thompson, then came out to give Rudd his “five-timer” jacket.
Among the newly-recorded segments was the Raging Bull parody “An Evening with Pete,” in which Pete Davidson and other SNL regulars recreated moments from Martin Scorsese‘s classic 1980 film, starring Robert De Niro.
Some vintage segments included Andy Samburg and Justin Timberlake‘s “D*** in a Box,” Martin’s “Holiday Wish” from season 12 in 1986, Eddie Murphy as an angry elf in sweatpants in the “North Pole News Report” from Murphy’s 2019 return, 2010’s “Holiday Pageant” sketch featuring Paul McCartney and Martin Short as Caleb and Monty, and Ronnie Spector singing “Christmas Time for the Jews.”
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