Saturday Night Live will be not-quite-live one last time this spring. NBC has announced that the Lorne Michaels-produced late-night mainstay will air its 45th season finale this Saturday, May 9. SNL‘s last traditionally produced episode was hosted by Daniel Craig on March 7.
The last time a Saturday Night Live season was shorter than 20 episodes was in 2007-2008, when the WGA Writers Strike led to a three month gap in production. But after the eventual shutdown of all TV and film production in the United States, SNL was the first scripted series to produce a new episode under quarantine, as performers filmed their own sketches (with, in some cases, a healthy assist from Zoom).
The previous two episodes produced during the pandemic were of course not actually performed live in front of a studio audience — in fact, as Vulture observed, many cast members weren’t just working from home, but were actually not even in New York. The first episode, featuring a monologue by Tom Hanks and a musical performance from Chris Martin, was a solid effort, but the second episode, featuring an opening appearance from Brad Pitt as Dr. Anthony Fauci, represented a major step up in quality, as the cast seemed to grow more confident in their ability to work from home, and the writers proved more willing to experiment with the creative opportunities made possible by the extreme societal changes we’re all now experiencing.
One downside to the At Home-produced episodes is the fact they’re missing your favorite part of live television: the potential to see cast members breaking in the middle of the sketch. To sate that thirst, NBC has released a promotion for the finale that features plenty of outtakes and goof-ups from previously filmed episodes — watch it below.
The Saturday Night Live season finale airs Saturday, May 9 at 11:30 PM EST/8:30 PM PST.