Saturday Night Live

‘SNL' Pays Tribute to Ukraine in Solemn Cold Open

Comedian and host John Mulaney talked about his intervention and recovering from substance abuse during his "Saturday Night Live" monologue


"Saturday Night Live" opened its first show since taking a hiatus during the Beijing Winter Olympics with a stunning and solemn performance paying tribute to Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

The Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York donned traditional embroidered outfits while they sang the rousing choral version of “Prayer for Ukraine" behind a table of candles that spelled the name of Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv.

Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong introduced the choir. The decades-old chorus was founded in the years after World War II by Ukrainian immigrants who wanted to preserve their cultural heritage in a new homeland, according to Ukrainian Weekly.

Comedian and former cast member John Mulaney hosted the show for a fifth time, and addressed his recent stint in rehab during his monologue.

“For many many reasons, I’m grateful to be here tonight after a very complicated year, it’s always great to be somewhere that’s always emphasized sobriety and mental health," Mulaney quipped.

Mulaney detailed how in December of 2020 his friends held an intervention by inviting him to a dinner party, but it was “not dinner."

“It was an intervention, for me, my least favorite kind of intervention," he joked. "Do you know how big of a drug problem you have to have if you open a door and see people gathered, your first thought is that this is probably an intervention about my drug problem?”

Mulaney also opened up about having a new son, Malcom, whom he welcomed with Olivia Munn in November.

“Life is a lot better and happier now,” he said. “"I have a 12-week-old son. He is a pretty cool guy for someone who can't vote. His legs are like little calzones, and I want to eat him."

One of the first sketches lampooned the latest mask guidance from the CDC, as a group of politically correct friends tiptoed around discussing their opinions about COVID-19 vaccines and mask-wearing.

Heidi Gardner brings up an "interesting" articles that suggested mask mandates may have had little to no effect on COVID, sparking outraged looks from Mulaney, Kenan Thompson, McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Bowen Yang.

The pre-taped sketch about the comedy trio "Please Don't Destroy" depicts an imaginary scenario in which a new coronavirus variant would actually be good for you.

“They’re calling it a miracle,” Mulaney said of the fictional new variant. “A new strain of COVID-19 that’s mutated so hard that it’s actually good. It’s called the Gelvini variant and it doesn’t make you sick, it just makes you feel dope!”

The sketch features cameos from actor Paul Rudd and TODAY show's Al Roker.

Rudd, who is a member of the exclusive "Five-Timers Club," joined Tina Fey, Steve Martin, Elliot Gould and Candice Bergen, as well as Conan O’Brien, to induct Mulaney in another sketch.

The skit opened with Martin, Rudd and Bergen meeting in a private library-like setting, all wearing their infamous jackets. As Mulaney entered the room, Bergen quips, “Let me be the first person to say, ‘Who are you?’ ” To which Mulaney responded, “If you have a niece or son who’s bad at sports, he might know who I am.”

Bergen breaks the news to Mulaney, that in order for him to join in the Five-Timers Club someone has to leave.

Martin exclaims, "We can't kick out Tina, she's the first woman to ever wear glasses on TV!"

Conan O'Brien struts through the door to loud applause from the audience. "I am just here to sign up for Peacock. It’s weird that they make you do it in person," O'Brien says.

"Weekend Update" tackled Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with co-anchor Colin Jost quipping that, “President Putin launched the attack with support from allies like Belarus and Tucker Carlson.”

“It’s a tough subject to make jokes about,” remarked co-anchor Michael Che, acknowledging the difficulties of making a satirical newscast about the Russia-Ukraine crisis. “In my lifetime I’ve seen footage of attacks like this on other countries, but never a white one.”

Next week, "SNL" returns with host Oscar Isaac and musical guest Charli XCX, who was not able to perform at her previously scheduled appearance in December 2021 due to production shutdown from the omicron surge during the holidays.

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