“Saturday Night Live” is back in the studio for the first time in months—becoming the first major network show to have a live audience since the pandemic began. And that’s led to a serious warning from the Health Department.
"Offering tickets to the general public without the appropriate casting and screening process is not allowed. We have communicated that to SNL and expect them to follow the rules,” the New York State Health Department said in a statement.
A rep for the show said they are working with the Health Department to make sure all guidelines are followed. Audience members can request up to nine tickets, but can only bring people from their own “social bubble.”
“I would imagine that they won't have every single seat filled, and perhaps that's why they're asking to identify your social bubble, so that you can sit in packs, but then be spaced out from others,” Variety Correspondent Elizabeth Wagmeister told Inside Edition.
All guests will be required to pass a rapid COVID-19 test before the show, have their temperature checked, answer a COVID questionnaire and wear a face covering at all times.
Comedian Chris Rock will be hosting the first episode of the season. “SNL” posted a photo of Rock wearing a mask during rehearsals. The rest of the cast was spaced out at their own tables. The cast will be required to wear masks right up until cameras start rolling.
Alec Baldwin will be reprising his role as President Donald Trump, with Jim Carrey as Joe Biden and Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris.
“If ‘SNL’ is able to pull this off successfully with their screening process, and if everything is done safely, then this really could serve as the litmus test for other shows in the industry that wanna bring a live studio audience,” Wagmeister said.
The show said they are setting aside a number of audience seats for any health care workers who apply for tickets.