Now that “Saturday Night Live” has tried its first social-distancing episode (shown here), three key questions appear:
Will “SNL” do it again? Was it a ratings success? And was it good?
The answers: We don’t know yet … Definitely … And, well, sort of.
NBC hasn’t said if it will do some more of these, with cast members working from home. For next Saturday (April 18), it announced a rerun of the John Mulaney/David Byrne episode … the same one it has announced for April 11, before bumping it.
But the ratings were clearly a success. The show drew 6.6 million viewers, NBC says; that’s 12 per cent higher than the typical episode this season … and 17 per cent higher in ages 18-49. In both categories, this was the third-highest total for any episode in more than a year … trailing only the return of Eddie Murphy and of Adam Sandler.
But was the show good? We’ll say it was, at least, interesting.
This “SNL” did best when it found a way to incorporate from-home video into a full sketch. One of those was a clever (and very adult) dating show, probing how desperate singles are. The other had a six-person office chat via Zoom, with two of the people being wildly inept.
But those were basically the only full sketches. The Weekend Update with Colin Jost and Michael Che (show here in a past episode) was pretty good; the rest — Tom Hanks as host, Chris Martin as music guest, lots of individual comedy efforts from home — were merely OK.
Still, it was all kind of fresh and interesting. Let’s hope it will be done again.