With Chris Rock locked in to host the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, the first in-studio episode since the pandemic, the comedian signed on for an unusual experience even for a SNL veteran. NBC and producer Lorne Michaels have reassured fans of the sketch comedy staple that the network would be taking every precaution to ensure the safety of the cast and crew. And, now, we’re getting a glimpse at what that process looks like.
In a new set of photos shared to the the SNL Instagram page, a masked-up Rock is seen sitting down for the first ever socially distanced read through. But while nothing looks too unusual in the first photo, it’s the second shot that really captures the complexity of the situation. If you scroll through to the next pic, you can see the massive ring of tables that takes up the whole studio floor. It’s like the dinner scene from Batman when Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne has to walk the salt all the way down to Kim Basinger’s Vicki Vale. How do they even hear each other?
You can see the table read photos below:
Oddly, there are no signs of Jim Carrey, who will be playing Democratic candidate Joe Biden when SNL returns, but maybe Michaels doesn’t want both of his biggest celebrities in the same room until the last minute? While the iconic producer is definitely concerned about navigating the safety protocols, and openly admits that even he’s not sure if the show can pull if off, he recently told the New York Times that doing more “At Home” episodes wasn’t an option going into this new season:
No, we just had to go back. It’s an election year. It’s what we do. 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. So we’ll do five shows in a row, which we’ve never done, and under these circumstances. Everybody has just thrown themselves into it. It’s difficult, but we’ve done difficult a lot of times. Comedy, when there’s a little danger involved, it doesn’t necessarily suffer.
Saturday Night Live returns October 3 on NBC with host Chris Rock and musical guest Megan Thee Stallion.
(Via Saturday Night Live on Instagram)