AP

‘SNL’ ditches audience, limits cast and crew amid Omicron

Dec 18, 2021, 4:40 PM
FILE - Paul Rudd attends the premiere of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" at AMC Lincoln Square 13 Nov. 15...
FILE - Paul Rudd attends the premiere of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" at AMC Lincoln Square 13 Nov. 15, 2021, in New York. People’s Sexiest Man Alive of 2021 is set to be inducted into the vaunted Five-Timers Club on “Saturday Night Live,” but the surging omicron variant of the coronavirus means there won’t be a live audience to see it happen. The show announced on social media Saturday, Dec. 18, that the night’s episode would tape without a live audience and with only limited cast and crew. “Ant-Man” star Rudd is the host and British pop star Charli XCX is the night’s musical guest. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — People’s Sexiest Man Alive of 2021 is set to be inducted into the vaunted Five-Timers Club on “Saturday Night Live,” but the surging omicron variant of the coronavirus means there won’t be a live audience to see it happen.

The long-running sketch comedy show announced on social media Saturday afternoon that the night’s episode, featuring “Ant-Man” star Paul Rudd as host, would tape without a live audience and with only limited cast and crew “due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution.”

Singer Charli XCX had been scheduled to perform but announced Saturday afternoon on Twitter that she was bowing out.

“Due to the limited crew at tonight’s taping of snl my musical performances will no longer be able to go ahead,” she wrote. “I am devastated and heartbroken.”

She then urged her fans to “look after yourselves out there and make sure you get vaccinated if you haven’t already.”

Rudd is returning to Studio 8H as host for the fifth time — typically a milestone of much fanfare. British pop star Charli XCX is the night’s musical guest. The Dec. 18 episode was the NBC show’s last announced episode for the year.

It’s unclear which cast members will appear on Saturday’s show, which usually tapes a dress rehearsal at 8 p.m., followed by the live show at 11:30 p.m.

The show returned for its 47th year in September with 16 cast members and five featured players, a particularly crowded field. The size of the cast has allowed for atypical flexibility for its high-profile members, who can now take time off for other projects during the season.

The show said on social media that those who had won tickets to the night’s show would receive more information soon.

This is far from the first time the Lorne Michaels-produced show has had to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus outbreak halted its 45th season for about a month, but “SNL” was back on the air by mid-April with a “quarantine version” of the show hosted by Tom Hanks. The show returned to 30 Rockefeller Center for its 46th season after implementing COVID-19 protocols, but booted singer Morgan Wallen from that season’s second episode for breaking rules. And just last month, British singer Ed Sheeran had to perform from home after contracting the coronavirus.

New York state reported Saturday that nearly 22,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday — eclipsing the previous day’s mark for the highest single-day total for new cases since testing became widely available. More than half the positive results were in the city. Omicron is expected to become the dominant coronavirus variant in many countries within weeks.

Other live shows in New York have been devastated anew by the recent coronavirus surge, with many Broadway stages forced to go dark because of outbreaks. Mayor Bill de Blasio this past week declared omicron “in full force” in New York, snuffing out holiday mainstays like the Rockettes Christmas show and threatening others yet — all portending another holiday season without much cheer.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

The U.S. Coast Guard ship Bernard C. Webber, leaves the coast guard base, Monday, July 19, 2021, in...
Associated Press

‘Miracle’: Missing cruise ship passenger found OK in water

The U.S. Coast Guard says a passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued on Thanksgiving after likely being in the water for hours.
13 hours ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
2 days ago
Debbie, left, and Chet Barnett place flowers at a memorial outside of the Chesapeake, Va., Walmart ...
The Associated Press

Walmart shooter left ‘death note,’ bought gun day of killing

According to authorities in Virginia, the Walmart shooter bought his gun just hours prior to killing six employees.
2 days ago
Dry lakebed...
Kira Hoffelmeyer

Lawsuit looms over tiny fish in drought-stricken West

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Conservationists have notified U.S. wildlife officials that they will sue over delayed decisions related to protections for two rare fish species that are threatened by groundwater pumping in the drought-stricken West. The Center for Biological Diversity sent a formal notice of intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service last week […]
4 days ago
Hand-written messages cover the heart attached to the cross to honor a victim of the mass shooting ...
COLLEEN SLEVIN, THOMAS PEIPERT, JESSE BEDAYN and BRITTANY PETERSON

Colorado gay club shooting suspect held without bail

The alleged shooter facing possible hate crime charges in the fatal shooting of five people at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub was ordered held without bail in an initial court appearance Wednesday.
4 days ago
Four Dead University of Idaho...
NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS Associated Press

Coroner: Idaho students were stabbed to death in their beds

Four University of Idaho students who were found dead in a rental house Sunday were stabbed to death in their beds and likely were asleep.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
‘SNL’ ditches audience, limits cast and crew amid Omicron