“SNL” ditched a comedic cold open on Saturday’s episode, replacing it with a tribute to the people of Ukraine via a performance by the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York.
The move comes amid the the devastating, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, a war of aggression ginned up by Vladimir Putin based on false claims that Ukraine is attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction, among other falsehoods.
The Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York performed “Prayer for Ukraine,” a mournful choral piece that was a touching contrast to the show’s usual cold opens. Watch that here now.
The performance ended with the camera zooming to review they were performing in front of a simple candle lit sign that read “Kyiv,” as Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon delivered a rather somber version of the “live from New York…” spiel.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has inspired a wave of support from the entertainment industry, particularly as the country’s film industry has ground to a halt. Notably, SAG-AFTRA, which in a statement Friday said it stands in solidarity with Ukraine amid what it called Russia’s “war of aggression.”
Meanwhile Sean Penn has traveled to Ukraine to film a documentary about the invasion, and also on Friday issued a statement calling on other nations not to “allow it to fight alone.”