Paul Rudd felt "extremely disappointed" hosting an audience-free Saturday Night Live.
Show officials announced mid-Saturday that the upcoming episode would have no audience and a limited number of cast and crew due to the recent spike in Covid-19 in New York. Tom Hanks and Tina Fey joined Rudd for his fifth time hosting the show, adding him to the "five timers club", of which they are already members.
"Thank you surviving crew members," Hanks joked in his opening monologue before explaining the lack of cast and crew. "I came here from California and if you think I was going to fly 3,000 miles and not be on TV, you've got another thing coming."
When the Ant-Man star walked on to receive his five timers club robe, he admitted, "Thanks for coming. I'm extremely disappointed."
Hanks, Fey, and Rudd introduced two new sketches that had been taped prior to the change. The hosts also showed older sketches from previous Christmas episodes, including one by Steve Martin, who sent a video message to congratulate the actor on hosting the show five times.
Current cast members Michael Che and Kenan Thompson joined the stripped-down show, with Fey joining Che for a version of Weekend Update.
"What a crazy week and an even crazier day," the actor signed off. "I know it wasn't the show you expected, but that's the beauty of this place. Like life, it's unpredictable. As my good friend Tom Hanks once said in a movie, life's like a big weird chocolate bar."
Charli XCX, who was set to perform on the show, told her followers she was "devastated and heartbroken" after her performances were scrapped. She was still featured in a pre-taped sketch.