What to expect for season 46 of “Saturday Night Live”

By Anastasia Bekker

Elm Staff Writer

“Saturday Night Live” will be returning to its live show format for season 46, premiering Oct. 3 at 11:30 p.m. EST. 

For the first episode, Chris Rock has been announced as the host, with Megan Thee Stallion performing as the musical guest.

Jim Carrey will be playing former Vice President Joe Biden in the show’s political sketches.

With the spike in COVID-19 cases in the United States, SNL had to finish its last season with an “At Home” quarantine edition of the show, featuring the main cast performing sketches from their homes. 

According to Vulture, Season 46 will begin with a considerably smaller live audience than before. The cast and crew said they feel excited to be back in Studio 8H doing the show live.

“With the kind of comedy we do, which quite often is broad, timing gets thrown off without an audience,” Lorne Michaels, the show’s creator, said in Vulture on Sept. 16. “That discipline of the audience having a voice is really important to the process. You see it play or not play.”

Cast member Aidy Bryant expressed similar sentiments on Vulture’s Good One podcast. “I think being away from it and having to do those shows at home, [and] it’s made me truly appreciate and sort of fall in love with a live audience all over again,” she said in July.

The entire main cast from last season will be returning, even though many are working simultaneously on their own projects.

Bryant filmed several episodes of her show “Shrill” over the summer and Kenan Thompson will be working on his new NBC comedy show, “The Kenan Show,” in between SNL shoots.

In addition to the returning cast, three new members have been added: Punkie Johnson, a stand-up comedian from New Orleans, La. and an actress in shows such as “Space Force”and “Corporate;” Lauren Holt, a musician and actress with the United Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles, Calif.; and Andrew Dismuke, who was previously on SNL’s writing staff.

Ego Nwodim, who has been a repertory player on the show since season 44, is also being promoted to a featured cast member.

Carrey has hosted SNL several times, but this will be his first time playing Biden, who has previously been portrayed by Jason Sudeikis, Woody Harrelson, and John Mulaney. 

Carrey will be starring in the political sketches alongside Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris and Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump. Rudolph recently won the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series with her last performance as Harris.

“I love going to the show,” Rudolph told Entertainment Weekly in an interview in mid-September about her guest appearances on SNL. “Any excuse I can get, I love.” 

Political sketches have always been central to the show, and this year will be no different — NBC has announced that SNL will release five new episodes from Oct. 3 to Oct. 31 to cover the election season. 

“This is the time when [the public] pay[s] attention,” said Michaels about the political climate. “That’s why these debates will be important, and that’s why we’ll be doing all of that.”

Being mindful of health precautions, NBC said they will continue to work with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to keep SNL safe for the staff and the audience. 

“The show will be compromised on some levels of production, but it will still be recognizable as the show you’ve seen all these years,” Michaels said, promising that this next season will bring more of what SNL’s viewers know and love.

Featured Photo caption: After ending the last season with an “At Home” edition, Saturday Night Live will be returning for its 46th season back onstage with changes regarding new cast members and taping precautions. Photo Courtesy of Tim Mossholder.

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