The cast of Saturday Night Live came together for a new episode in the same way as every other workplace in the world right now — on a Zoom call.
“It’s wonderful to see my beautiful cast mates on this technological approach to doing a live show,” said cast member Kenan Thompson.
The first of its kind, the show was hosted by actor Tom Hanks with musical guest Chris Martin. The show’s intro was also modified, showing cast members in loungewear in their respective homes, staying indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Hanks was diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, last month along with his wife Rita Wilson. They were hospitalized in Australia but have since recovered.
The 63-year-old actor appeared on screen in a suit in what appeared to be his kitchen.
“It is a strange time to try and be funny, but trying to be funny is SNL’s whole thing,” he joked.
He said ever since his diagnosis, he’s “been more America’s dad than ever before, since no one wants to be around me very long and I make people uncomfortable.”
Hanks also struck a sombre note at one point, telling the audience: “We will get through this together.”
He also thanked hospital workers, first responders, and anyone working on the front lines: “the men and women who are keeping this country going.”
“We’re going to take care of them and we’re going to take care of each other.”
The new episode comes after the show spent several weeks off the air because of the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to Saturday, the last new SNL episode aired on March 7.
Ten days later, the weekly late-night show announced it was postponing production due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The latest episode, including a Weekend Update segment, was produced remotely in order to keep cast members safe and limit the spread of COVID-19, NBC said on Thursday.
SNL’s 45th season began last September and as of April 11 — after 16 episodes — has only five left before the company takes a break to prepare for its 46th season.
— With files by Global News reporters Olivia Bowden, Adam Wallis