Saturday Night Live

‘SNL': Paul Rudd, Tom Hanks and Tina Fey Kick Off COVID-Stricken 2021 Finale

"Saturday Night Live" closed out 2021 with no live audience and no musical performance, but other surprising guests came to welcome host Paul Rudd into the show's "Five-Timers Club"

NBC

"Saturday Night Live" opened with host Paul Rudd joining actors Tom Hanks, Tina Fey, and cast member Kenan Thompson on stage for his induction into the show's Five-Timers Club for those who have hosted the program at least five times.

Rudd, 52, has already hosted "Saturday Night Live" four times before in 2008, 2010, 2013, and 2019. This landed Rudd in the Five-Timers Club.

Hanks said that they had originally planned some festivities to welcome Paul Rudd to the Five-Timers Club, which Hanks said he started, just like he started COVID, joked Fey of Hank's early 2020 coronavirus diagnosis.  

Earlier in the day prior to the show, the show subsequently announced that there would be “no live audience” and the sketch-comedy show would be operating with “a limited cast and crew” due to the omicron variant’s ravaging of New York City, resulting in a record number of daily COVID cases.

"Thank you for coming," Rudd said, addressing Fey and Hanks. "I'm extremely disappointed." 

Rudd still received his iconic hosting jacket from cast member Kenan Thompson.

“Congratulations on hosting the show four-and-a-half times,” Thompson cracks, though sadly it looks like they didn’t have time to replace the “5” with a “4-1/2.”

Steve Martin then chimed in with a pre-taped appearance, in which he “accidentally” called Rudd “Tom Hanks” the whole way through.

Martin Short appeared alongside Martin to hand him a drink, in a perfect callback to the original Five-Timers Club bit from almost exactly 21 years ago, when Hanks himself joined.

The actors explained that after the show canceled its live audience and musical guest as New York City sees a spike in COVID-19 cases, they would be showing a combination of sketches taped previously this week and classic Christmas sketches from years past.

Like Rudd said, “It’s gonna be a little like that new Beatles documentary. A lot of old footage, but enough new stuff that you’re like, ‘OK, mmm-yeah, I’ll watch that.’”

In the first pre-taped sketch the cast recorded on Thursday, cast members Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon play two mothers, with Rudd as a director of a HomeGoods commercial.

He's interviewing them to record what they want most for the holidays. But they "just want grandchildren." 

"The thing about Home Goods is we can’t really sell children," Rudd said.

"Can you check in the back?" Bryant said.

The two had Rudd thinking seriously about the prospect of grandchildren. Rudd soon exclaims, "Oh my God," he said, "I want grandchildren."

He continued: "They don’t blame you for anything. They just play clarinet and get into college."

Another pre-taped sketch in which Rudd said they filmed earlier on Saturday, featured Pete Davidson in the year 2054, still doing performances. Davidson spoofs Eminem's hit song "My Name Is" – while cast member Chloe Fineman asks what exactly type of audience is this for.

"Weekend Update" brings back Tina Fey alongside Michael Che (Kenan Thompson and Che are the only regular cast members in the studio). The two perform in front of an audience of only Rudd, Hanks, and Thompson.

"The FDA said it will permanently allow people to get abortion pills through the mail, which means the pills should arrive just in time for your child's first birthday," Fey joked.

"The Christmas Socks" skit shows a fun music video about a boy and a strange man at a department store, with Rudd, the cast, and Charli XCX. Cast member Kyle Mooney plays a 6-year-old, buying a pair of socks. They tell a story about meeting in line and proceed to connect about their birds, holding up everyone in the check-out.

"SNL" returns in the new year.

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