SNL’s Final Episode of 2021 to Feature No Audience and ‘Limited Cast’

Careful, Paul. Photo: Rosalind OConnor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Update, Saturday, December 18, at 5:30 p.m.: Charlie XCX has announced via Twitter that she will not be performing tonight on Saturday Night Live due to “limited crew.” She stated that she is “currently safe and healthy but of course very sad” about the performance cancellation.

Saturday Night Live is not immune, it turns out, to New York City’s so-called “media variant.” The show announced on December 18 that it will not have a live studio audience for its final episode of 2021 featuring host Paul Rudd and musical guest Charlie XCX. “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,” SNL said in a statement. “The show continues to follow government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol.” A source close to the show told Vulture there have been some exposures and positive cases of COVID on the cast and crew; it hasn’t been confirmed yet who on the show, or how many cast and crew, have been affected.

The news at SNL comes a day after it was announced that the remainder of the Rockettes’ 2021 Christmas shows would be canceled at Radio City Music Hall — which is next-door to SNL and 30 Rock — due to breakthrough COVID-19 cases in the company. Additionally, a number of Broadway shows have canceled recent or upcoming performances over the past week due to the pandemic, including MJ: The Musical, Jagged Little Pill, Hamilton, Moulin Rouge, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Mrs. Doubtfire, Ain’t Too Proud, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

SNL’s Final 2021 Episode to Have No Audience, ‘Limited Cast’