The show still went on, sort of. Last night’s SNL was supposed to be a happy occasion: It was both the last show of 2021 and Paul Rudd’s fifth time as host. Then the pandemic shifted into another wave, thanks to the Omicron variant. Most of the cast and crew were sent home. So was musical guest Charli XCX. All that remained were Rudd, two cast members, guests Tom Hanks and Tina Fey, and a skeleton crew. Only two live sketches remained: a cold open, in which Rudd received his “Five Timers Club” robe, and a stripped down, Colin Jost-less Weekend Update.
Fey returned to her old gig co-hosting the joke news segment, this time sitting beside Che. “We thought we’d read these dumb jokes anyway and so if we can make these guys laugh,” Che cracked, pointing to host Paul Rudd, guest Tom Hanks, and Keenan Thompson, the only other present SNL cast member — the only ones sitting in the audience.
There were jokes about one of the late Norm Macdonald’s favorite Weekend Update punching bags. “O.J. Simpson has been released from parole two months early because of good behavior,” Che told the sparse crowd. “Said O.J., ‘I can’t believe I got out of parole early, but I did it. I did it.’ “
There were jokes about Elon Musk being named Time’s Person of the Year. “You can read more about it on your phone,” Fey said, “while your Tesla is self-driving you into a lake.”
There were jokes about multiple Fox News hosts frantically texting former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, begging him to stop the Capitol siege of Jan. 6. “You know you’ve gone too far when Fox News is like, ‘Somebody better calm these white people down,’” said Che.
There were jokes about Bruce Springsteen selling the rights to his music catalog for $500 million. “So hopefully,” Che said, “he finally has the money to move out of New Jersey.”
And there were dumb jokes about the very smart people at NASA sending a spacecraft to touch the sun (without being destroyed, too). “NASA was finally able to complete the impossible mission,” Fey cracked, “by going at night.”
You can watch more where those came from — including Fey’s very good Andrew Cuomo impersonation — in the video above.