Chris Rock was the first host of “Saturday Night Live’s” 46th season, and he had a tall order ahead of him. Not only was it the show’s return to Studio 8H for the first time this season, but also for the first time since early 2020, since the coronavirus pandemic shifted the end of their Season 45 production to “at-home” episodes.
Rock walked out on stage in a mask but promptly removed it to deliver his monologue, which started by addressing “the elephant in the room,” that President Donald Trump is in the hospital with COVID.
“My heart goes out to COVID,” Rock said.
He also briefly touched on the new protocols in place in the studio to allow for the show to go on live and in-person. He acknowledged the studio audience, noting they had been checked thoroughly before being let in and that they were all first responders.