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‘Saturday Night Live’ is returning this weekend with remotely produced episode

The episode, airing April 11, will be a first for ‘SNL’

Bowen Yang, left, as Bottle Boy and “Weekend Update” anchor Colin Jost during a recent episode of “Saturday Night Live” on NBC.
Will Heath/NBC

The famed comedy show “Saturday Night Live” is making a surprise return to television after previously being put on an indefinite hiatus due to the coronavirus in early March, NBC reports.

The show will air during its usual time slot — Saturday at 11:30 Eastern Standard Time — and include “SNL” classics like “Weekend Update” as well as original content from the cast, all produced remotely, CNN reports.

The cast members will be performing from their homes or other socially distanced locations, being mindful of the current dire situation in New York City. This is the first time an entire episode of the show has been produced remotely, granting it a significant place in the show’s 45-year history.

This isn’t the first time “SNL” has returned in the midst of a national crisis, Vanity Fair reports. In 2001, the show’s season premiere aired just two and a half weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks. In that historic episode, Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City at the time, made a guest appearance.

“Can we be funny,” the show’s legendary executive producer Lorne Michaels asked in that episode, to which Giuliani quipped, “Why start now?”

The return will likely not be strictly comedic, WTHR reports, as it will likely honor longtime musical sketch producer Hal Wilner who died due to complications with COVID-19 over the break, as well as the grandmother of cast member Michael Che, who Forbes reports was also taken by the virus.