‘Saturday Night Live’ season finale looks back on a pandemic year

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How unusual was the final season of “Saturday Night Live”? On the one hand, he opened his latest episode without a traditional sketch and got his performers talking, in comedic but personal terms, about what it was like to put the show in the middle of a pandemic.

The show, hosted by Anya Taylor-Joy and starring musical guest Lil Nas X, debuted with veteran cast members Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson standing as themselves on the stage. from NBC’s Studio 8H. “This year has been crazy,” said Bryant.

Strong added: “So crazy that a lot of us are crazy.”

Another group of cast members observed that by this time in 2020, “SNL” had ceased its live broadcasts and instead produced recorded segments that the performers had recorded in their homes. But this year, they received different instructions from the show’s creator and longtime executive producer Lorne Michaels.

Ego Nwodim said: “Everyone was running away from New York but Lorne was like, ‘We should go back, for the comedy.'”

McKinnon joked about the abundance of Covid protocols needed to keep the show going. “If I wanted to kiss someone, I had to put them in a closet and do it in the dark, away from the authorities,” she said. “It has led to a lot of confusion.”

Chris Rock, the former “SNL” who hosted the season premiere in October, made a surprise appearance to observe that his episode sounded like “six years ago.”

He added, “Here’s how messy the world was when I hosted: I wanted Kanye West to be the musical guest. And he couldn’t do it because he was running for president. Also, the week I was here, the sitting president who said Covid would go away obtained Covid. It was this season.”

The cast also recognized relatives and colleagues who died from Covid-19, including show music coordinator Hal Willner.

Momentarily choking, McKinnon said, “This is the year we realized we’re more than a cast, we’re family.”

Bryant added, “And like a real family, we’ve had enough of each other, and we need a little break.”

Strong thanked the audience “for staying with us through an election, an insurrection and an objection to the insurrection.”

At the Weekend Updates Desk, presenters Colin Jost and Michael Che continued to riff on recent events in the retrospective mood of the show.

Jost started:

Well this is our last update of the weekend and I have to say I think the country is in a better place than when we started this season. In September, there were headlines like “Will the President Destroy Democracy?” And now I see headlines like “Will this be the most exciting summer ever?” And who can forget that time the president tried to assassinate Congress?

He added:

Republicans just want to forget about the riots that happened and focus on the future of their party. And the future of their party is, of course [an image appeared of Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida] … Yes. Federal authorities investigating sex trafficking charges against Matt Gaetz have been reported got the cooperation of his ex-girlfriend. But not before her prom.

Che turned his attention to other recent events:

Following the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, insiders praised President Biden’s “light touch” when he dealt with Benjamin Netanyahu. But to be honest, everything Biden does involves some kind of contact. [Here the screen showed a composite image of instances of President Biden kissing, hugging and rubbing the shoulders of women.]

Pete Davidson returned to the Weekend Updates Office with a short monologue about Mental Health Awareness Month and how the pandemic had affected his anxiety. When he started to wear a mask, he said: “I thought less people would recognize me. But it didn’t work because everyone can still recognize me in my eyes. If you see someone who seems to wake up and he hasn’t slept in days, it’s me.

Davidson also observed, “I can’t begin to be afraid that the public toilet will give me Covid when I was already afraid of giving myself AIDS.” Playing the reaction to that joke, he said, “Hey, AIDS is a lot like ‘SNL’. It’s still there, it’s just that no one has been enthusiastic about it since the 90s. ”

He added: “Lorne actually wrote that.”

If you’re a tea leaf reader, we’ll note that Davidson (who just wrapped up his seventh season on “SNL”) concluded by telling viewers, “I’m very grateful to be here, and it’s been an honor. for growing up in front of you guys, so thanks.

Strong closed the final weekend update of the year by reprising her recurring role as Fox News host Jeanine Pirro.

Holding up a glass of wine which she was using to throw her drink in all directions, Strong said she had recently taken a visit to Mar-a-Lago: “It’s like being on a cruise ship that’s docked. permanently in the hottest part of Florida, in between. two chic strip clubs. You know, where the girls wear ball gowns.

We’ll just add here that Strong, who wrapped up her ninth season on “SNL,” ended her segment by singing “My Way” as she plunged into a glass tank labeled “Boxed Wine,” with a giant straw.

Since last year’s public pride events were largely canceled due to the pandemic, “SNL” was there to remind us how it should be properly observed in 2021 with a helpful video clip, in which a group of cast members including Punkie Johnson, McKinnon and Bowen Yang sang:

It’s Pride again.
We have waited so long.
It’s Pride again.
For so many things that are wrong.

It’s a celebration of overpriced bar drinks, crushes you don’t care about, and – in the case of the characters played by Taylor-Joy and McKinnon – lesbians who moved in together too quickly.

Lil Nas X has already expertly courted controversy this year with his kaleidoscopic video for “Montero (Call me by your name)” – the one that dragged him a striptease stick to hell and squeal the devil – and a set of limited edition sneakers called Satan Shoes.

Now, his live staging of “Montero” has given “SNL” their most fetishistic, neck-licking – and proudest gay – musical act of… maybe, ever. And he bravely persevered after tearing his pants off mid-performance, as he later acknowledged on Twitter.





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