Saturday Night Live this week was supposed to be hosted by Paul Rudd, and see him inducted into the Five Timer’s Club. It was supposed to feature a musical performance by Charlie XCX. It was also supposed to be Saturday Night Live’s big annual Christmas show. While the show did go on, COVID was lurking in the midst with four cast members reportedly testing positive. By Saturday afternoon, the live show and Charlie XCX’s performance was cancelled, with the show opting to retain limited cast members (Kenan Thompson and Michael Che), host Paul Rudd, and special guests Tom Hanks and Tina Fey.
In the old days, they would’ve just opted to air a rerun. But it instead took on a “the show must go on” attitude and delivered a pseudo-clip show, featuring holiday staples, rarely seen classics, and some brand new clips that were supposed to air on the live incarnation. All in all, everything was pre-taped and nothing was actually live.
The opening segment, however, did see Rudd get inducted into the Five Timers Club and get his own jacket given to him by Hanks. Fey, also a member, was on hand as was Steve Martin – also a member – and Martin Short – not a member – via video. The new sketches included a Home Goods sketch with Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, and Rudd, Pete Davidson paying tribute to Raging Bull, and . Plus, Fey and Che teamed up for an intimate and surprisingly lively Weekend Update that was definitely a highlight.
All in all, we applaud SNL for defying the expected – just airing a rerun – and cobbling together something that serves as a testament to both what Saturday Night Live has been over the last 45 years as well what it continues to be today. Even Saturday Night Lite is better than no SNL at all.