NEW YORK — 2021’s People’s Sexiest Man Alive is set to join the wanted five-timer club on “Saturday Night Live,” but the growing Omicron version of the coronavirus means there won’t be a live audience to watch it.
The long-running sketch comedy show announced on social media Saturday afternoon that the night’s episode would be taped without a live audience and with only a limited cast and crew “due to the recent spike in the Omicron version and an abundance of caution.”
“Ant-Man” star Paul Rudd is the host, returning to Studio 8H for the fifth time—a milestone of generally much fanfare. British pop star Charli XCX is the musical guest of the night. The December 18 episode was the NBC show’s last announced episode of the year.
It is unclear which actors will appear on Saturday’s show, which usually tapes dress rehearsals at 8 p.m., followed by a live show at 11:30 p.m.
The show returned to its 47th year in September with 16 cast and five featured players, a particularly crowded ground. The size of the cast has allowed for unusual flexibility for its high-profile members, who can now take time off for other projects during the season.
The show said on social media that those who have won tickets for the night show will get more information soon.
This is the first time the Lorne Michaels-produced show has had to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus outbreak halted its 45th season for almost a month, but “SNL” was back on the air by mid-April with a “quarantine version” of the show hosted by Tom Hanks. The show returned to 30 Rockefeller Center for its 46th season after enforcing COVID-19 protocols, but dropped singer Morgan Wallen from the second episode of that season for breaking the rules. And just last month, British singer Ed Sheeran had to perform from home after contracting the coronavirus.
New York state reported on Saturday that nearly 22,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday – marking the previous day’s highest single-day tally for new cases since testing became widely available. To receive More than half of the positive results came in the city. Omicron is expected to become the dominant coronavirus variant in several countries within weeks.
Other live shows in New York have been ravaged by the recent coronavirus surge, with many Broadway stages forced to go dark due to the outbreak. Mayor Bill de Blasio declared O’Micron “in full force” in New York last week, snubbing holiday mainstays like the Rockets Christmas show and threatening yet others – all portraying another holiday season without much enthusiasm. are doing.