AceShowbiz - Tom Hanks and Tina Fey joined Paul Rudd to rescue the "Saturday Night Live" COVID-impacted Christmas episode. Hours before the show's new episode aired, it's announced that there would be no studio audience as well as limited cast and crew due to Omicron's "spike."
During the episode, Tom said, "Thank you surviving crew members." The 65-year-old actor explained, "Tonight everyone at 'Saturday Night Live' planned to do our big Christmas show and induct a new member into our 'Five-Timers Club' but COVID came early this year."
"So, in the interest of safety we do not have an audience and we sent home our cast and most of our crew but I came here from California," Tom added. He then told the viewers that he was also joined by Tina. "And if you think I was going to fly 3,000 miles and not be on TV, you've got another thing coming. I am not alone, isn't that, right Tina?" so said the actor.
Tom then introduced Tina, who added that this wasn't the smallest crowd she'd ever performed to because she'd once "done improv in a Macy's." When Tom added that he was the one who started the "Five-Timers Club" on the show, the "30 Rock" alum cheekily replied, "Oh, like you started COVID!"
The duo then welcomed Paul, who earned "Five-Timers Club" status, onto the stage. Although he appeared happy, the "Ant‑Man" star stated that he was "extremely disappointed" by the turn of events, adding that there was "a whole show planned" that ultimately didn't come to realization.
In an attempt to make his spirits bright, Tom showed Paul a video, which he called the "very special message," that Steve Martin had sent to congratulate him on his new title. However, Steve kept congratulating Tom for hosting "SNL" for the fifth time instead of Paul. Martin Short, Steve's co-star on "Only Murders in the Building", also made a brief cameo in it.
Kenan Thompson, the "SNL" cast member currently with the longest tenure, joined the trio to give Paul a "five-timer" jacket. He also jokingly told "The Shrink Next Door" actor, "Congratulations on hosting the show four and a half times."
The segment was concluded by Kenan, assuring the viewers that "SNL" would "still have a great show for everybody, including brand new sketches taped earlier this week." Tina went on to add that there would be classic sketches airing as well, including The Lonely Island and Justin Timberlake's "D**k in a Box", Eddie Murphy's disgruntled elf and Paul McCartney's holiday pageant.
Hours before the show aired, "SNL" released a statement via Twitter that read, "Due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience for tonight's taping of Saturday Night Live and the show will have limited cast and crew." The statement continued, "The show continues to follow all government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol. If you have won tickets to this show, you will be receiving more information soon. Thank you for your patience and understanding."
While NBC and SNL didn't specify why the cast would be "limited," the New York Post reported that several cast members had tested positive for COVID-19. It's also said that the episode was on the verge of being canceled, as other cast members, "fearful" they caught COVID-19, have called out.