Now SNL stands for “Social Distancing Night Live.”

In a surprise move, Saturday Night Live will return with a new episode this weekend. The show was previously on indefinite hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ongoing social distancing measures designed to slow the spread of the virus means that a typical SNL episode is impossible right now. But according to NBC (and they would know), SNL is returning with “remotely produced content at its usual Saturday time slot on the broadcast network.”

The press release says that the episode “will include a version of Weekend Update and other skits from cast members.” Not even NBC was able to confirm that any of the material would be performed live, as has been the tradition for the vast majority of the show’s sketches and musical performances since its earliest days. Other than news broadcasts, very little TV content is being produced live these days; even typically live series like professional wrestling events have been shot in advance and then aired on tape. Whether live or taped, this weekend’s SNL will air in the show’s usual 11:30PM time slot.

We could definitely use a good laugh right now, so a new SNL is certainly welcome. What exactly a show made in a studio in front of a live studio audience will look like in an era when the studio is closed and an audience is impossible should add some major curiosity factor to the first remotely produced episode. If nothing else, it will be an SNL like nothing else in the show’s history. Just look at this picture and tell me you don’t want to watch.

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