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Paul Rudd hosts ‘SNL’ sans audience, Charli XCX amid omicron

The 2021 People’s Sexiest Man Alive was admitted into the exclusive Five-Timers Club on “Saturday Night Live,” however due to the outbreak of the omicron strain of the coronavirus, there was no live crowd to witness the event. Instead, fans at home were treated to fresh skits filmed earlier in the week, as well as old favourites.

Due to a recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, the long-running sketch comedy show announced on social media Saturday afternoon that the night’s episode, hosted by “Ant-Man” star Paul Rudd, would tape without a live audience and with only a limited cast and crew “due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution.”

The entire cast — with the exception of Kenan Thompson — and most of the crew had been sent home by the time 11:30 p.m. Eastern time rolled around, according to Tom Hanks. The show began with Hanks announcing the cancellation of the show’s scheduled Christmas episode, instead of the normal cold open sketch. The episode was the final one for the NBC programme in 2021.

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Both Hanks and Tina Fey, a former “SNL” regular, wore their Five-Timers jackets.

“As you know,” Hanks added to Fey, “I founded the Five-Timers Club.”

“Like you began COVID,” Fey shot out, referring to the actress’ coronavirus diagnosis in March 2020.

Rudd was set to return to Studio 8H as host for the sixth time, which is usually a cause for celebration. Despite the show’s departure from its typical format, the pair declared that Rudd would be admitted into the club, and Thompson, as the longest-serving cast member, would be the one to perform the honours.

Thompson congratulated Rudd for hosting the show four and a half times.
Charli XCX, a British pop sensation, had been slated to perform, but she declared on Twitter on Saturday afternoon that she would not be able to do so.

“My musical performances will no longer be allowed to go through due to the restricted crew at tonight’s recording of SNL,” she stated. “I am heartbroken and crushed.”

“Look care yourselves out there and make sure you get vaccinated if you haven’t already,” she said.

In September, the programme returned for its 47th season with 16 cast members and five featured players, making for an especially crowded field. The cast’s size has given its high-profile members unusual flexibility, allowing them to take time off for other projects during the season.

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