“SNL” returned for its first episode in more than a month, but with social distancing restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic the show looked a bit different. The episode didn’t have a cold open, but it did have a surprise host: Tom Hanks, who delivered his monologue from his kitchen.
The episode was not performed live, just because it would be a logistical nightmare to do so over a video conference. But Hanks assured us that he “can do everything a host does during a normal ‘SNL.'”
“Hey, it’s good to be here,” Hanks said as he began his monologue. “Though it is also very weird to be here hosting “Saturday Night Live” from home. It is a strange time to try and be funny, but trying to be funny is SNL’s whole thing. So we thought what the heck? Let’s give it a shot.”
With the episode skipping the cold open, it instead began with a special coronavirus quarantine edition of the series’ signature opening credits, featuring the entire “SNL” cast on a Zoom call and special clips with each member, mimicking the way the standard opening credits highlight each of them, that they filmed themselves in their homes.
You can check out Hanks’s monologue, as well as the new “SNL” credits sequence, in the video embedded up at the top of this article.
And, of course, Hanks as the host wasn’t the only surprise revealed in the credits. This quarantine episode also has a musical guest: Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who performed by himself from what appeared to be his home studio.
Tom Hanks did not actually appear in any of the evening’s sketches, though he did deliver the sign-off at the end of the show.
Alec Baldwin, however, did eventually make an appearance as Donald Trump, though it was voice only. He called into Weekend Update to make some jokes about Trump’s strange daily coronavirus press conferences, and to deliver a list of new racist names for COVID-19.