‘Saturday Night Live’ Cancels Studio Audience Over COVID-19 Omicron Variant

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Big news in late-night television as Saturday Night Live has announced that they will cancel their live audience due to the Omicron COVID variant.

We are now in the world of the Omicron variant. As such, SNL will tape their show without a live audience. The show is making this decision, “out of an abundance of caution.” Cases in New York City are continuing to surge as the variant is being found all over the country.

Paul Rudd is set to host this week along with Charli XCX. The decision was made only about eight hours before the episode was set to film. Saturday Night Live‘s official Twitter account put out a three-tweet message.

“Due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience for tonight’s taping of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and the show will have limited cast and crew.” The rest of the message is in the tweets below.

Fan Reactions to ‘SNL’ Audience News

Soon after releasing the new SNL was met with reactions from fans. They ranged from disappointed to congratulatory and a few in between. Above all else, fans are just happy that there will be a show this week. And they are happy that the show won’t be done virtually.

Earlier in the pandemic, the show made a pivot to a Zoom/At-home format. It just wasn’t the same. Being in the studio, even without an audience, should give it a semblance of normality.

A fan named Mark on Twitter said, “Hopefully we still get Colin and Che swapping jokes!”

Another Saturday Night Live viewer said, “That’s OK! Just let Paul Rudd stand on stage, all will be good.” Then someone followed that up by replying, “[He] is all we need. He can do all things!” So, it doesn’t look like viewers are going to be too upset.

Paul Rudd Hosts ‘Saturday Night Live’

The good news for fans is that the show will go on. While there will be a limited cast and crew, that doesn’t mean things will be put on halt. Paul Rudd is still set to host. He will likely be promoting his latest movie, Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Of course, Rudd himself is a Saturday Night Live Legend.

During the show, there will be a performance by English songwriter, Charli XCX. There have been a number of great musical guests this season. So, hopefully, this will live up to those other artists. So far there have been performances from Kacey Musgraves, Halsey, Ed Sheeran, and Taylor Swift among others.

For now, fans will have to get used to the show not having an audience once again. This could be how the rest of the season plays out.