In advance of its return this weekend, Saturday Night Live has announced its first three hosts and musical guests of 2021. It’s a group that includes one of the best actresses of her generation, the award-winning son of a comedy legend, a sitcom star dabbling in action and horror, a rapper-turned-pop-punk tribute artist, a top roots rock star, and probably the biggest indie singer-songwriter of the moment.
This Saturday, Jan. 30, the show will be hosted by John Krasinski, presumably to promote The Office moving exclusively to NBC’s streaming platform Peacock, with musical guest Machine Gun Kelly.
On Feb. 6 Dan Levy, co-creator and co-star of Schitt’s Creek, will host, with the ubiquitous Phoebe Bridgers as musical guest. Levy’s dad and Schitt’s Creek co-star Eugene Levy is a sketch comedy legend, of course, who performed at Second City in Toronto with some of SNL’s original cast members in the early ‘70s. Eugene was one of the driving forces behind SCTV throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, and was scheduled to host an episode of Saturday Night Live in 1985 (alongside John Candy) that wound up never happening due to a writer’s strike. Hopefully Dan lets his dad share the spotlight a little bit.
Finally, Regina King will host on Feb. 13, on the heels of her critically acclaimed directorial debut One Night in Miami. Paste fave Nathaniel Rateliff will be the musical guest.
SNL returned to the studio at the start of the current season, supposedly taking a cautious approach even with a small audience at each show. Given how the spread of COVID-19 has gotten worse since the show’s last episode of 2020—and that there are new mutations of the virus that makes it easier to spread—it would’ve made sense to return to the “at home” style of show they put on during the first month of the pandemic. We’ve already seen California-based talk shows return to that format, as tougher restrictions were put back in place after an increase of cases in that state. Hopefully the precautions SNL are taking are strenuous enough to prevent further spread; I’m not sure if watching the 10th Ms. Rafferty sketch live is worth catching a deadly infection.