Chris Rock and Megan Thee Stallion dropped a new promo for the upcoming season premiere of Saturday Night Live. While the comedian and musician are both masked up for the 30 second spot, Rock assures viewers the show is going to be great and jokes that they aren’t scared about anything as Megan disappears and reappears in a HAZMAT helmet. Rock is, of course, referring to the decision to air SNL in the studio for the first time since the pandemic.
While the Rock and Megan Thee Stallion promo was clearly coordinated to arrive on the heels of SNL revealing Jim Carrey’s Joe Biden and Maya Rudolph’s Kamala Harris, the timing couldn’t be more awkward. Just hours after the Rock promo was released, President Donald Trump confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 along with First Lady Melania Trump. While the president’s diagnosis will have much more serious implications for the upcoming presidential election, it also throws a significant wrench into Lorne Michaels’ plans for bringing SNL back into the studio.
While speaking to the New York Times in September, Michaels revealed that his main reasoning for bring the show back into the studio was the presidential debates. “It’s an election year. It’s what we do,” Michaels said. “There are four [presidential and vice-presidential] debates in the month of October, and I was trying to figure out how to take a week off, but it didn’t work out.” With Trump now quarantined and Vice President Mike Pence being isolated to preserve the line of presidential succession, the chances of those debates still happening just significantly dropped if not vanished altogether.
However, as far as safety is concerned, SNL has been making it clear all week that it’s not messing around. The show’s Instagram account recently shared an image of the first read-through, and everyone from Rock to the cast and writers were masked up and very far apart.
Saturday Night Live returns October 3 on NBC.