With NBC's Saturday Night Live ready to kick off its 47th season on October 2, it does so as the winner of the 2021 Emmy Award for Variety Sketch Series- its fifth straight win in the category. But it also does so with a heavy heart, as the shadow of the passing of actor & comedian Norm Macdonald still looms large over the sketch comedy/music series. Appearing on SNL from 1993 to 1998, Macdonald was the anchor of "Weekend Update" for 3-1/2 seasons and was also known for his spot-on impersonations of Larry King, Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Quentin Tarantino, and others. So it seemed only fitting that SNL creator & executive producer Lorne Michaels would take a moment to dedicate the show's award to him.
"'Weekend Update' has been part of 'SNL' for 46 seasons and here I'd like to pay tribute to one of the best we ever had, Norm Macdonald," Michaels said in his speech accepting the award on behalf of the long-running late-night series. But Michaels also took some time to recognize the current cast for everything they went through to put on an award-winning show in the midst of a global pandemic and the Joe Biden-Donald Trump 2020 U.S. Presidential election. "We began our last season with six live election shows in a COVID bubble with everyone wearing masks and a small audience of exhausted first responders. No better way to do comedy. Jim Carrey was Biden, Maya Rudolph was Kamala, Alec Baldwin was Trump, and Kate McKinnon was mostly everyone else. Dave Chappelle's Foo Fighters show was the last of those shows and it happened on the Saturday the election results were announced. Fatigue soon turned to exhilaration and we got to work. The cast, the crew, the writers, and the entire production team all rose to the occasion and that show won this Emmy," he explained:
Now here's a look at Michaels at his post-win interview:
Tonight brought Saturday Night Live's Emmy total to 81, with 21 nominations this year. During last week's Creative Arts Emmys, the show scored wins with Dave Chappelle as Guest Actor, Maya Rudolph for Guest Actress, Production Design, Directing and Lightning Design. In addition, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Cecily Strong were nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Meanwhile, Kenan Thompson and Bowen Yang were nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
"Today is a sad day. All of us here at SNL mourn the loss of Norm Macdonald, one of the most impactful comedic voices of his or any other generation. There are so many things that we'll miss about Norm – from his unflinching integrity to his generosity to his consistent ability to surprise. But most of all he was just plain funny. No one was funny like Norm," read the caption on SNL's Instagram post when the news of Macdonald's passing first broke, along with an image of MacDonald as well as a classic clip of MacDonald as Burt Reynolds squaring off with Will Ferrell's Alex Trebek during a Jeopardy! sketch: