Tom Hanks Returns to Host SNL at Home After Coronavirus Recovery

Saturday Night Live shut down production a month ago, but unlike the rest of the late-night shows, it has so far resisted the pressure to get back on the air from home. Until now

This weekend, #SNLAtHome hit the airwaves on NBC, with the full cast appearing on video chat from their separate apartments. For the first time ever, it wasn’t live. “And live from Zoom, it’s sometime between March and August!” Kate McKinnon said once all of the cast members had appeared on the screen.

The first big surprise came when announcer Darrell Hammond revealed the host: Tom Hanks.

It has been exactly one month since Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson announced they had tested positive for COVID-19. Wearing a suit from his kitchen, the Oscar-winning actor seemed better than ever and more than ready to make fun of himself. 

“Hey, it’s good to be here, though it is also very weird to be here hosting Saturday Night Live from home,” Hanks said. “It is a strange time to try to be funny, but trying to be funny is SNL’s whole thing, so we thought, what the heck, let’s give it a shot!” 

    “But, why me as host?” he asked. “Well, for one,I have been the celebrity canary in the coal mine for the coronavirus and ever since being diagnosed I have been more like America’s dad than ever before. Since no one wants to be around me very long and I make people uncomfortable.” He explained that since he was diagnosed in Australia, where they use Celsius on their thermometers, he learned that “36 is fine, 38 is bad, so basically, it’s how Hollywood treats female actors.”

    Hanks informed viewers that he and his wife are “doing fine, doing great” and “hunkered down, like all of us should be.” 

    “Now, this Saturday Night Live is going to be different,” he said. “For one thing, it has been filmed by the SNL cast, who are currently quarantined in their homes just like this. Well, I mean, not like this home. Their homes are a little more like—you know what, I’m going to let you be the judge of that. Also, there’s no such thing as Saturdays anymore.” 

    “Will it be weird to see sketches without big sets and costumes? Sure.” Hanks said. Then he echoed Rudy Giuliani in the first show back after 9/11 when he added, “But will it make you laugh? Eh, you know, it’s SNL. There will be some good stuff, maybe one or two stinkers, you know the drill.” 

    The rest of the show featured a music video of Pete Davidson singing a Drake-inspired song and McKinnon as Ruth Bader Ginsburg showing off her work-out routine. Larry David checked in as Bernie Sanders from his home. Another sketch skewered the politics of Zoom conference calls.

    Overall, it was looser and more experimental than a typical SNL episode. It may not have been live, but it was clear the cast was having more fun than usual.

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