After an incredibly odd end to last season, in which every SNL cast member sort of did their own thing remotely from home, Lorne Michaels has announced that its live episodes would resume when the new season begins on Oct. 3.
And there are A LOT of moving parts involved here. Lots to consider.
“We don’t know that we’re going to be able to pull it off,” he told the New York Times. “We’re going to be as surprised as everyone else when it actually goes on.”
But the show must go on. After all, they made it through 9/11. They made it through anthrax being sent to 30 Rock. And they’ll make it through COVID-19. “It’s what we’ve always done,” he said. “To our audience, it’s really important we show up.”
And what precautions will be taken?
There’s heat sensors at the revolving doors and then you go for your rapid [Covid] test. You wait 15 minutes and then you’re in the building. The Monday night meetings in my office on the 17th floor, which once had 40 people, now has a capacity of three. It’s me plus two. In the same way that we tried to figure out the at-home shows, we’ve had to rethink every part of the show.
I had a meeting with the writing staff. I had a meeting with the cast. I had a meeting with production. The room that we were in was the size of an airplane hangar and people were six feet apart and everyone wears their masks. We can’t go in with as many pieces. We don’t have as much time between dress [rehearsal] and air. We’re doing our first read-throughs on Tuesdays as opposed to Wednesdays.
From the New York Times Interview:
Will cast members have to wear masks in the sketches?
They will wear masks until the moment the red light goes on, at which point the Velcro back will be taken off.
Are there limitations as to how many people can be in a sketch?
No, but there are restrictions on how many people you can have on the studio floor. So, if a camera’s not in use in that sketch, the operator would leave. When sets have to be changed and the stagehands come in to do it, others will leave. We have a finite number of people and that’s being closely monitored.
What happens if someone at the show tests positive?
Everyone goes into quarantine for two weeks if you test positive.
So right now, everyone at the show — performers, writers, behind-the-scenes staff — is getting the rapid Covid test?
Absolutely. And eventually audience.
Will you be able to draw your studio audience from the general public, or is that going to be restricted to NBC colleagues and family members?
That’s all still being sorted out.
Read the rest of the interview here…