‘Saturday Night Live’ returns to screens with all new precautions

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Gracie Watt / Hilltop Views Mashups

The return of ‘SNL’ featured Chris Rock as the host and Megan Thee Stallion as the musical guest. This was the most watched season premiere since 2016.

“Saturday Night Live” premiered their 46th season on Oct. 3. Due to the pandemic, the premiere looked a little different than past ones. This season, “SNL” has done its best to be as COVID-19 conscious as possible since the show has been on hiatus since late March.

Leading up to the premiere, there was not much information released about how the show would handle this season. Many were curious as to how the live show would follow guidelines due to their usual setup, equipped with a live band and a live studio audience.

One change SNL has made to its setup is the band being separated by clear plastic barriers and all wearing masks when they were not playing their instruments. Audience members were also wearing masks and looked socially distanced. Audience members on the floor were first responders, according to host Chris Rock.

Rock claimed that all audience members had to be tested in order to come, and were required to wear masks for the entire show. Cast members have been tested regularly since they wear masks on and off between skits. Even the opening credits were slightly different, showing the cast out and about in New York wearing masks and showing how 30 Rockefeller Center meets COVID-19 guidelines.

The show started off with a cold open of a mockup of the recent presidential debate with Alec Baldwin acting as President Donald Trump, Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris and Jim Carey making his debut playing Joe Biden. Carey has received a lot of praise for his portrayal. This was a predictable cold open for “SNL” due to the political climate and their track record of commenting on politics. 

The rest of the show was unsurprising with jokes about COVID-19 culture, the potential TikTok ban and Trump testing positive for coronavirus.

Although the skits and jokes were nothing new, they were enjoyable and all in good fun. The show highlighted a lot of important topics, discussing how necessary it is for people to vote and continue to wear their masks.

Megan Thee Stallion, the musical guest for the week, made a very powerful statement about the Black Lives Matter movement during her performance of “Savage.” In the middle of her performance, she paused the song as the background flashed messages such as “Protect Black Women.” 

She then spoke about the importance of protecting Black women and men, and harshly criticized Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron over his handling of the Breonna Taylor case. It was a very powerful moment during the show and shifted  from being just another catchy song into a meaningful message about the BLM movement. 

SNL is definitely trying their best to adapt to COVID-19 guidelines by taking as many precautions as possible but also keeping the charm of a live show. With Rock as a talented host and Megan Thee Stallion’s stunning performance, IT was a very promising season premiere. Although skits played a little on the predictable side, hopefully we see more from SNL this season.