US comedy show Saturday Night Live returned from a month-long hiatus this weekend, with host Tom Hanks presenting from home.
“It is good to be here, though it’s also very weird to be here hosting Saturday Night Live at home,” Hanks said, speaking from his kitchen. “It is a strange time to try and be funny, but trying to be funny is SNL’s whole thing.”
Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive for the coronavirus while working in Australia, but have since returned to the US.
Hanks said he had to get used to learning his temperature in degrees Celsius, where 36 was good but 38 was bad, “like Hollywood treats female actresses”.
The world’s new way of keeping in contact – video conferencing – was ripe for satire. The programme’s opening showed all cast members in an onscreen gallery familiar to many working from home.
“Live from Zoom,” Kate McKinnon said. “It’s sometime between March and August.”
One sketch featured a mock Zoom work meeting, where McKinnon and Aidy Bryant played a pair of inappropriate receptionists. Bryant was stopped just in time when she brought her laptop with her into the bathroom.
“I used my licence as toilet paper and now I don’t know my own birthday,” Bryant said.
With Bernie Sanders dropping out of the Democratic primary race since the last time SNL was on, Larry David appeared from his easy chair to once again impersonate the Vermont senator.
“Don’t worry about me,” he said. “It’s spring in Vermont, so soon it will be up to 40 degrees. And I finally have the time to relax and finish that heart attack from October.”
The show kept to its traditional structure with a musical guest and Weekend Update.
Coldplay’s Chris Martin, on acoustic guitar, played a version of Bob Dylan’s Shelter From the Storm. Signs on the wall behind him said Entrance To Trains, a nod to the Grand Central Terminal-themed SNL set.
Alec Baldwin, portraying President Donald Trump, called in to the Weekend Update segment, although without video since Baldwin did not have access to makeup. The faux president noted that “every night at 7pm, all of New York claps and cheers for the great job I’m doing,” a reference to the nightly tribute to medical workers.
The show also paid tribute to music producer Hal Willner, who scored music for many years on SNL and died this past week after showing symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.
Past cast members Adam Sandler, Tina Fey and Bill Hader were among those who offered remembrances.