Saturday Night Live is shutting down production for at least three weeks because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The show was scheduled to return a week from Saturday, with host John Krasinski and musical guest Dua Lipa. As with Daniel Craig’s episode, Krasinski was hosting in order to promote a movie, in this case A Quiet Place Part II, whose release has been indefinitely delayed.
The show joins game shows and late night talk shows in suspending production as non-essential businesses shut down in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. SNL has released 16 episodes of its 21-episode season; NBC says they will be monitoring the situation to determine if and when the show would produce the remaining five episodes. On Feb. 29, “Weekend Update” host Michael Che directly addressed his qualms about producing a comedy show during a pandemic:
I don’t want to make jokes about this coronavirus. And not because it’s too sad, but because I don’t know that I don’t have it yet. And if I do have it, the internet is going to play this clip of me making fun of it over and over again. As they should, because that’d be hilarious—imagine if there was video of the Crocodile Hunter making fun of stingrays. I mean, what if this is it? This is not how I want to be remembered, sitting here pretending that I care about politics, wearing this fancy tie. Like, I don’t need this. I mean, why am I hiding my drinking problem? You know, you know I just found out I might have a kid?
If SNL doesn’t come back this season, we can expect to see clips from that segment in a lot of retrospectives and documentary miniseries in about twenty years.
The show’s best excursion into contagion humor, however, remains the 2009 sketch “Carter ’N Sons BBQ: Swine Fever.”
If you’d like to guess which sketches from Saturday Night Live’s 45 year history will look the strangest in a few months or years, or are looking to find a way to pass a few hours at home for some reason, the show’s YouTube page is a treasury of jokes that were actually a lot funnier than you remember.