Chris Rock is set to host the season premiere of Saturday Night Live along with musical guest Megan Thee Stallion. After the pandemic forced the show to improvise a series of make-shift “At Home” episodes to cap off the last season, SNL will be filming live in the studio when it returns on October 3. Ahead of announcing Rock’s hosting gig, SNL creator Lorne Michaels sat down with Dave Itzkoff at The New York Times to discuss the delicate balancing act of making the first in-studio episodes since COVID began.
While running down the various safety measures from heat sensors at the door to holding meetings with writers in rooms the size of an airplane hangar, Michaels was asked if he contemplated making more at home episodes, and he made it very clear that it wasn’t an option with an election around the corner:
No, we just had to go back. It’s an election year. It’s what we do. There are four [presidential and vice-presidential] debates in the month of October, and 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, and under these circumstances. Everybody has just thrown themselves into it. It’s difficult, but we’ve done difficult a lot of times. Comedy, when there’s a little danger involved, it doesn’t necessarily suffer.
Despite his determination to get SNL back in the studio, Michaels is cognizant that things can go wrong — the network still hasn’t figured out how or if there will even be an audience — and that it will only take one positive test to throw everyone into quarantine for two weeks. “We don’t know that we’re going to be able to pull it off,” he told the Times. “We’re going to be as surprised as everyone else when it actually goes on.”
(Via The New York Times)