The cast and crew of Saturday Night Live will not get a chance to relax after the 2020 Presidential Election because they have added a November 7 show to their lineup. This marks the sixth consecutive episode of the sketch comedy program without a hiatus, the longest stretch in the show’s history.
Saturday Night Live’s executive producer Lorne Michaels (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock) spoke to The New York Times in September about the complicated nature of returning to studio 8H amidst an election season and global pandemic. Historically, election seasons have significantly bolstered the show’s ratings which is why Michaels choose to run five consecutive episodes in season 46 to coincide with the presidential and vice-presidential debates. “I was trying to figure out how to take a week off, but it didn’t work out. So we’ll do five shows in a row, which we’ve never done,” Michaels told The New York Times prior to the start of season 46.
“Everybody has just thrown themselves into it. It’s difficult, but we’ve done difficult a lot of times,” Michaels addressed the COVID-19 obstacles that accompanied a return to in-person recording and live audiences when speaking to The New York Times. Michaels admitted to the experimental nature of the show’s return and how, because of this, they’d have to learn what works best as they go. Social distanced table reads, rapid testing and a smaller, spaced-out live audience have all been apart of the health and safety precautions at Saturday Night Live, but Michaels admits “We don’t know that we’re going to be able to pull it off” (The New York Times)
On-screen, Kyle Mooney (Saturday Night Live, Brigsby Bear) was fictionally diagnosed with COVID-19 in a digital short called “Dancer” featured in last Saturday’s episode of the show. However, off-screen Michaels and NBC are doing everything in their power to ensure that positive COVID tests stay confined to the realm of sketches. One such occasion happened when country artist Morgan Wallen had his invitation rescinded as the show’s musical guest after TikTok videos surfaced of him disregarding COVID protocols by attending a house party unmasked.
Saturday Night Live continues to address the virus and the election on-screen, a mission so important to the sketch comedy intuition that they’ve expanded their unprecedented run to include a post-election episode. A video on Saturday Night Live’s official Instagram confirmed the sixth episode using a popular TikTok meme format. “Girl don’t do it, it’s not worth it”, a dialogue familiar to TikTok users, plays as the camera pans over SNL’s famed corkboard line-up, via Instagram. A note card with the date November 7 is added to the end of the lineup as an unsure Bowen Yang (Saturday Night Live, Awkwafina is Nora From Queens) lips “I did it” (Instagram).
View this post on Instagram
Variety asserts that this newly added post-election episode “will likely be a raucous or somber affair, depending on the result.” At the halfway point of this six episode stretch, Saturday Night Live has already received attention for moments such as Jim Carrey (The Truman Show, In Living Color) premiering his Biden impression, Megan Thee Stallion’s powerful racial justice statement during “Savage” and Bill Burr’s (F is for Family, Breaking Bad) opening monologue as host.
View this post on Instagram
The show’s upcoming October 24 episode will by hosted by Adele with H.E.R. serving as musical guest. There is no word yet as to who will host the final two episodes of Saturday Night Live’s record-breaking six episode run.