'Saturday Night Live' Opens With Tears and Laughs as Castmembers Reflect on the Past Year

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SNL Season Finale Cold Open
NBC

Saturday Night Live closed out Season 46 with a cold open featuring a heartfelt and genuine message from the show's entire cast. Reflecting on the past year and the challenges posed by the pandemic, there were a lot of tears, laughs and a cameo from Chris Rock.

The cold open began with Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson standing on the iconic Studio 8H stage, and the group got emotional as they reflected on the crazy year that was Season 46.

"I remember there were so many COVID precautions that if I wanted to hug anyone, I had to pull them in the closet and do it in the dark away from the authorities," McKinnon joked, "and that led to a lot of confusion."

Chris Redd shared a story from the episode hosted by Adele, and recalled how he was taken by surprise when he first met her.

"One time I was getting a swab stuck up any nose and I looked to my left, and Adele was getting a swab stuck up her nose, too. And we locked eyes and I panicked. And I said, 'It's a living!' What the hell does that mean?!" Redd said.

"At the beginning [of the season], our audience was mostly first responders, doctors, and nurses," Bryant recalled. "Which sounds nice, but we quickly realized that a doctor who just left the E.R. After a 36-hour shift is maybe not the best audience for comedy."

"That's we started inviting second responders," Thompson joked. "Which are just random people who show up to the scene of an emergency and go on, 'Oh, damn look at that! That dude cracked his head wide open.'" 

Rock also surprised the audience when he took the stage and recalled how he actually hosted the first episode of the season last September.

"That feels like six years ago!" Rock joked. "Here's how messed up the world was then. When I hosted, I wanted Kanye West to be the musical guest, but he couldn't do it because he was running for president! Remember that? Also the week I was here, the sitting president, who said COVID would disappear, got COVID! That was this season!"

McKinnon, Bryant and Strong fought back strong tears as they paid tribute to the SNL crew members who the show lost to COVID and other illness during the pandemic, and explained how the challenges brought them all closer.

"This is the year we realized we're more than just a cast. We're a family," McKinnon said.

"And, like a true family, we are kind of sick of each other and we need a little break," Bryant added.

"So we'll see everybody at Thanksgiving!" Thompson chimed in.

"Thank you for staying with us through an election, an insurrection and an objection that there was an insurrection," Strong shared.

"As someone who played Rudy Giuliani and experienced the year through his eyes, I can tell you it was one wild ride, baby," McKinnon concluded before the show all joined together for the season's final declaration of "Live From New York, it's Saturday Night!"

Check out the video below for more from this season of SNL.

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