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‘Saturday Night Live’ returns with an at-home special hosted by Tom Hanks

“And live from Zoom, it’s sometime between March and August.”

Tom Hanks hosted "Saturday Night Live At Home" from his kitchen.NBC (custom credit)/NBC

“Saturday Night Live” returned this week in an episode where cast members phoned-in jokes and sketches from home, and Tom Hanks, who recently recovered from the coronavirus himself, hosted the show from his kitchen.

“And live from Zoom, it’s sometime between March and August,” Kate McKinnon offered in the “SNL At Home” opening, where clips of cast members pouring cereal, washing dishes, and taking out the trash replaced the familiar, bustling sequences of the comedians out in New York City.

After being gone for more than a month, the NBC comedy institution returned to the air on Easter weekend, emulating other late-night hosts who have abandoned studios and audiences amid the coronavirus pandemic.


In his opening monologue, Hanks talks about being diagnosed with coronavirus exactly one month ago: “Since being diagnosed, I’ve been more like America’s dad than ever before. No one wants to be around me very long and I make people uncomfortable.”

He wore and suit and admitted: “This is the first time I’ve worn anything other than sweatpants since March 11.”

The episode opened with a new “Drake” hit, recorded from Pete Davidson’s mom’s basement:

McKinnon brought back her Ruth Bader Ginsburg impression with “RBG’s Workout Corner," where McKinnon’s Ginsberg demonstrates how to workout while social distancing: “You don’t want to gain the quarantine 15,” she said.

Larry David returned as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who ended his 2020 presidential bid days ago: “Always a bridesmaid, never a Democratic nominee,” David’s Sanders said.

The episode featured musical guest Chris Martin of Coldplay, with a moving, acoustic rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm.”

Colin Jost and Michael Che delivered a “Weekend Update Home Edition,” featuring voices that tuned-in via Zoom — a makeshift, somewhat real-time, laugh-reel.

“Telling jokes with nobody just looks like hostage footage,” Che said.


Alec Baldwin’s President Trump phoned in for audio updates on the coronavirus pandemic: “I’m happy to report, Colin, that America is now number one in the world in the coronavirus.”

The full-length episode closed with a tribute to Hal Willner, the show’s longtime music producer, who died Tuesday after experiencing symptoms consistent with the coronavirus, according to the New York Times.

“We are going to miss you so much, you were just a great man, a great person,” Adam Sandler said via video.

“When I was at ‘SNL,’ he used to come up to my dressing room and just share music with me,” former cast member Fred Armisen added.

Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Molly Shannon, John Mulaney, Kate McKinnon, and Pete Davidson also took part in the video tribute, which included a singalong to the song “Perfect Day” by Lou Reed, a frequent Willner collaborator.

Brittany Bowker can be reached at brittany.bowker@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @brittbowker and on Instagram @brittbowker.