By Loren Adams
Sketch comedy and late-night variety has made its return to television. Saturday Night Live, better known as SNL premiered its 46th season this past weekend. After being forced to shut down due to the pandemic, they are back with new material and new performances for their audiences to enjoy.
The popular sketch-comedy like many other television shows were negatively impacted by COVID-19. Due to the fact that the last season with virtually produced episodes, the reception caused ratings to plummet. In an interview with New York Times, Lorne Michaels, the creator of SNL says they have challenges such as figuring out how many people can be in the studio or the numbers of persons allowed in the control room or construction of sets.
“We don’t know that we’re going to be able to pull this off. We’re going to be as surprised as everyone else as it goes on,” he said.
Michaels makes it known that he feels that it is his duty to deliver to his audience during these unprecedented times.
“We did a show with anthrax in the building, we did a show after 9/11. That’s what we’ve always done. To our audience, it is really important that we show up.
The first episode of the season was hosted by comedian and SNL alum, Chris Rock, in front of a limited in-studio audience. The variety show consisted of comedy sketches and late tributes that have happened in the past weeks leading up to last week.
A highly anticipated comedy-sketch that was on commercial and previewed on social media was the first presidential debate. Jim Carey as Joe Biden, Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris and Alec Baldwin as President Trump. Though many at home were looking forward to the comedy sketch, not many were pleased.
The comedy sketch of the presidential debate sparked controversy after it was previously announced that President Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Alec Baldwin, who impersonated Trump, received backlash from social media about his role in the sketch. Baldwin later defended his position in a video via Instagram.
“We thought the debate was something topical, and we didn’t have anything with him in a hospital bed, but we had a debate,” he said. “You’d have to have a very good reason to avoid that, topicality wise, and nobody thought that they were mocking somebody’s illness by doing that.”
The premiere also consisted of musical guest Megan Thee Stallion. Megan performed her first number one single “Savage” and her latest single “Don’t Stop” with pre- recorded audio from activist Malcom X, singer Beyonce, and activist Tamika Mallory. Megan ended her performance with a speech of her own encouraging people to vote. She also participates in another sketch of the night.
As premiere night came to an end, SNL took the time to pay a tribute to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is played by Kate McKinnon. Along with a moment of silence, McKinnon reflected on her role as Ginsburg with kind words.
“For so many of us Justice Ginsburg was a real-life superhero: a beacon of hope, a warrior of justice,a robed crusader who saved the day time and again,” she said. “Playing her on SNL was a profound joy because I could always feel the overwhelming love and gratitude the audience had for her.”