Although Saturday Night Live previously revealed that it would have a limited cast and crew due to the Omicron spike, Paul Rudd was still inducted into the “Five-Timers Club” as host of the show. While there was no live audience, Tom Hanks and Tina Fey made a surprise appearance during SNL‘s cold open.
“Thank you surviving crew members,” Hanks said. “Tonight everyone at Saturday Night Live planned to do our big Christmas show and induct a new member into our five-timer club but Covid came early this year, so in the interest of safety we do not have an audience and we sent home our cast and most of our crew but I came here from California and if you think I was going to fly 3,000 miles and not be on TV, you’ve got another thing coming. I am not alone, isn’t that, right Tina?”
Fey made light of the COVID-impacted episode by joking that this episode’s audience wasn’t the smallest she’s “performed for because I have done improv in a Macy’s.” Rudd’s status as People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive” for 2021 became fodder for Hanks who kept calling him “the Most Sexist Man of the Year.”
Kenan Thompson, the SNL cast member currently with the longest tenure, joined the trio gifting Rudd with a “five-timer” jacket and telling him, “Congratulations on hosting the show four and a half times.”
Also celebrating Rudd’s appearance was Steve Martin who via video kept congratulating Hanks for hosting SNL for the fifth time instead of him. Martin Short, Martin’s co-star on Only Murders in the Building, also made a brief cameo in it.
Thompson concluded the segment by assuring viewers SNL would “still have a great show for everybody, including brand new sketches taped earlier this week,” with Fey adding that there would be classic sketches airing as well. Those included The Lonely Island and Justin Timberlake’s “Dick in a Box,” Eddie Murphy’s disgruntled elf and Paul McCartney’s holiday pageant.
Rudd’s appearance on SNL comes just a month after the premiere of the Apple+ miniseries The Shrink Next Door, which he stars in alongside Will Ferrell. Charli XCX was set to be the musical guest this week, however, the show had to cancel her performance because of a smaller crew available. Set to join XCX onstage were also Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek.