The venerable NBC comedy show announced the decision to its social media channels roughly eight hours before the episode featuring host Paul Rudd and musical guest Charli XCX was scheduled to film. Additionally, the episode will feature a “limited” cast and crew, per the statement.
“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,” the show’s message read. “The show continues to follow all government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol.”
This follows a spate of recent COVID-related cancellations for live entertainment in NYC, including numerous Broadway shows going dark for varying amounts of dates. The Rockettes also announced their annual Christmas Spectacular has been canceled for 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic.
SNL has used a live audience for the duration of season 47, which began airing in October. The show returned to its famed Studio 8H at 30 Rockefeller Plaza for season 46 after having aired three remotely filmed episodes in the spring of 2020 amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
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.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) December 18, 2021