Hollywood star Tom Hanks hosted the latest episode of Saturday Night Live (SNL). However, it was not at the show's usual shooting location, NBC Studios in New York City, but from his kitchen. Yes, his kitchen!
The 63-year-old star hosted the show's first virtual episode — also the first episode in five weeks— on Saturday. In a first for the show, the episode included sketches produced at home by the cast members amid the coronavirus lockdown. Chris Martin of Coldplay was the musical guest for the night and performed Bob Dylan's Shelter From The Storm.
"It's good to be here, but it's also weird to be here hosting Saturday Night Live from home. It is a strange time to try and be funny, but trying to be funny is 'SNL's' whole thing, so what the heck, let's give it a shot," said Hanks in his monologue.
Feels like 'America's dad'
Hanks, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March and returned to the US after recovering in Australia, did not hold back any rib-tickling punches at himself. He said that he was the "celebrity canary in the coalmine" when it came to the disease. "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," quipped Hanks.
Speaking about his experience with the disease, he assured fans that he and his wife were doing well. Adding to the hilarity that he induced to the bout of the disease he overcame, Hanks said: "In fact, this suit, this is the first time I've worn anything other than sweatpants since March 11. My wife had to help me put it on cause I forgot how buttons work."
Thanking 'all the helpers'
During the course of his monologue, Hanks also spoke about the need to stay and braving the pandemic united. "Stay safe. We are in this for the duration. And we will get through this together," he assured.
He also gave a thankful shout out on behalf of the show to all the first responders, health care workers, delivery executives and "and all the helpers"— a line ascribed to American television personality Fred Rogers, whom the actor recently played.
The Forrest Gump star hailed them as the men and women "who are keeping this country going" in such difficult times. "We are going to take care of them, we are going to take care of each other," he said. The actor also had a quick Q/A session with "himself" as he briefly played two other characters during the monologue.
'Trump' makes an appearance
"Live from Zoom, it's sometime between March and August," said Kate McKinnon during a Zoom call between all the cast members. "It's beautiful to see all my castmates," said Kenan Thompson, the shows longest-running cast member. Among the sketches was one by McKinnon as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Larry David as Senator Bernie Sanders and a parody abut Zoom call.
The bonus feature, however, was Alec Baldwin's appearance as US President Donald Trump in a phone call with Colin Jost and Michael Che during their sketch, Weekend Update: Home Edition. Providing an official update about the pandemic, 'Trump' said, "My approval rating is up, my TV ratings are through the roof and every night at 7 p.m. all of New York claps and cheers for the great job I'm doing."
He also said that "we have to listen to the experts on this one" such as Fox New's Sean Hannity, senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner and infomercial star Mike Lindell. Wishing everyone for Easter, he added: "All absentee ballots are covered in coronavirus. Happy Easter, everybody!"