Watch Lorne Michaels Welcome the Saturday Night Live Cast Back to the Studio

“SNL” Season 46 Exclusive: The First Show Back in the Studio

Like many of us over the past year, Saturday Night Live had to figure out how to move forward in the unlikeliest of scenarios. 

But unlike many of us over the past year, that meant figuring out how to safely make a live comedy show with a huge cast at a time when things were neither funny nor safe for large crowds. A new series of featurettes give a taste of what it was like behind the scenes as the long-running variety show dealt with its biggest challenge ever: a global pandemic

E! News has an exclusive first look at the campaign with a peek at Lorne Michaels‘ speech to the cast during their first in-person table read, after a few attempts at at-home episodes. 

“You might have noticed this is a little scary,” he says from behind a mask, to a room full of other masked people all sitting at separate tables. “Everything will be different—where we make our decisions, how we make our decisions, what rehearsal is like, and then when you’re on the air, it’ll feel pretty much the same.” 

It’s quite a feat to produce a live show that looks normal on screen while everything has changed off screen, but somehow, SNL pulled it off, making it all happen with limited cast availability, little audience, restrictive new rules and some pretty depressing inspiration. 

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

You can watch Lorne’s speech above, and get a taste of what it took to put a show together in the midst of a global pandemic. 

Saturday Night Live airs on NBC. 

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