The comic and former cast member returned to the Studio 8H stage to host the first in-studio episode since COVID-19 shutdowns began.
Chris Rock took to the Studio 8H stage as the first in-studio Saturday Night Live host since the show went remote late last season. The comic used his time to address Trump's recent COVID-19 diagnosis, the show's return to its traditional format and the current political climate during this year's election cycle.
"Before we even get started let, [talk about] the elephant in the room. President Trump's in the hospital from COVID, and, you know, I just want to say my heart goes out to COVID," Rock said, laughing.
Getting that out of the way, Rock went on to explain how the show has managed to have an audience while still keeping safe.
"Everybody in this audience has been checked, and all week I've had things going up my nose. Every day I come in here," Rock said. "I haven't had so much stuff up my nose since I shared a dressing room with Chris Farley."
He also explained that the audience was made up almost entirely of first responders, meaning "We let people die tonight so that they could see a good show!"
The stand-up comic and former SNL cast member spent his monologue cracking jokes about the divisiveness of current politics, but he ended his monologue with a powerful quote from James Baldwin: "Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it's faced."
SNL airs Saturdays, live coast-to-coast at 11:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. PT on NBC.