The show must go on, as they say, but this time, Saturday Night Live is forging ahead without its usual live studio audience.
With yet another COVID-19 variant spreading throughout New York City and the world, the sketch comedy series is scrapping its in-studio audience for the episode airing tonight, Saturday, Dec. 18, and will also be limiting the amount of cast and crew on set. The news was shared by the series on its official social channels late Saturday afternoon.
“Due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience for tonight’s taping of Saturday Night Live and the show will have limited cast and crew,” reads the series’ official statement. “The show continues to follow all government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol.”
*Update*: Musical guest Charli XCX announced Saturday that she will no longer be performing on the show due to the recent Omicron outbreak and the “limited crew at tonight’s taping.”
“Due to the limited crew at tonight’s taping of SNL, my musical performances will no longer be able to go ahead,” she tweeted. “I am devastated and heartbroken. Myself, Caroline, Christine and all of our crews and teams have worked so hard all week alongside the SNL team to bring the most amazing musical performance to life. It can’t happen this time, but I’ll be back! I am currently safe and healthy, but of course, very sad. Please look after yourselves out there and make sure you get vaccinated if you haven’t already.”
Details on what those limitations will look like were not immediately available, nor were any specific additional safety measures being put in place ahead of the night’s taping.
Paul Rudd will host the episode, marking his fifth time returning to Studio 8H as emcee and the series’ final show of the year.
Surprised by the news? Looking forward to Rudd’s appearance? Let us know in the Comments.