Saturday Night Live Season 46 Posts Live Audience COVID Procedures

With NBC's Saturday Night Live leaving the "@Home editions" behind and returning to Studio 8H for its 46th season on October 3rd (with SNL alumnus Chris Rock hosting and musical artist Megan Thee Stallion performing), the biggest question people have been asking is how are they going to pull together a studio audience. Would it be just friends and family of SNL or the network? Would it be the general public? Well, it looks like it's going to be at least a mix of both based on the notice that went out for those looking for tickets.

Saturday Night Live returns to Studio 8H for Season 46 (Image: NBCU)
Saturday Night Live returns to Studio 8H for Season 46 (Image: NBCU)

But if you get tickets to the shows on October 3, 10, 17, 24, or 31, you're going to want to know what you'll be facing when you get there. Following the teaser for the comedy-variety series' return is a list of protocols that will be in place for anyone looking to be in the audience: how to order tickets, on-site testing and mask-wearing procedures, etc.

Please request tickets for you and anyone you consider to be a part of your "social bubble." 'A "social bubble" is defined as a group of people, related or unrelated, who have repeatedly entered into close contact (defined as <6 feet) with all others in that group, on multiple occasions prior to the night of the show.

All ticket applicants should request either 2, 7, 8, or 9 tickets, depending upon the size of your "social bubble." Please note that all people for whom you've requested tickets must come to the show, in order for any of you to be seated.

If selected for tickets the following rules/guidelines will apply:

All guests will be required to take a mandatory COVID-19 test upon arrival. This is a self-administered lower nasal antigen test with results yielded before the show.

Temperature checks will also be required at check-in.

Face coverings/masks are required at all times while inside the building – no bandanas, no gaiters, no masks with vents will be allowed.

All audience members will be asked a series of questions prior to admission:

  • Are you exhibiting any symptoms related to COVID-19?
  • Have you exhibited any symptoms to COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
  • Have you had a positive COVID-19 test within the past 14 days?
  • Have you been in close contact with anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, or anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, within the past 14 days?
  • Have you traveled to any of the following states in the past 14 days? Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming (list updated as of 9/26/20; list changes, based on NY State guidance)

Please note anyone who has a temperature of 100.4 or higher will not be allowed admission and the party may not be granted admission either. A positive COVID-19 test for any member of your group will result in the entire group not being granted admission.

Saturday Night Live
A look at who's hosting and the musical performance for Saturday Night Live Season 46 opener. (Image: NBC)

Even with the cast, writers, and staff/crews receiving regular COVID testing, SNL creator Lorne Michaels and the others still have health concerns- and Michaels makes it clear that he's still not sure they can make the magic happen. "We don't know that we're going to be able to pull it off. We're going to be as surprised as everyone else when it actually goes on," he explained. "We just have to stay clean and focused until October 3rd. And then we do five shows in a row." Michaels also addressed how the death of popular Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will impact Kate McKinnon's portrayal. Asked if Justice Ginsburg's passing will mean the character being retired on-screen, Michaels gave a blunt, direct answer that doesn't appear to leave much doubt: "I doubt it."

SNL Star Kate McKinnon Pays Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg
L – Kate McKinnon / R – Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Image courtesy of Lev Radin and Rob Crandall / Shutterstock.com

Saturday Night Live's 46th season includes Beck Bennett, Aidy Bryant, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner, Colin Jost, Kate McKinnon, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, Melissa Villaseñor, and Bowen Yang. Che and Jost serve as head writers, with Bryan Tucker serving as senior writer. Lauren Holt (The Filth), Punkie Johnson (Space Force), and Andrew Dismukes (Comedy Central's Colossal ClusterFest, New York Comedy Festival) are joining the cast as feature players. Alec Baldwin returns as Donald Trump, with Maya Rudolph joining them as Kamala Harris, and Jim Carrey as Joe Biden (Bennett will continue as Michael Pence).

Not including specials and digital series, SNL has won 72 Emmy Awards, the most for any show in television history. SNL also holds the title for the most nominated television show in Emmy history with 270 nominations (once again, not including specials and digital series). The long-running sketch comedy and musical series is executive produced by Lorne Michaels, produced by Steve Higgins and Erik Kenward, and directed by Don Roy King. Ken Aymong serves as a supervising producer, with Lindsay Shookus, Erin Doyle, and Tom Broecker producing. The series is produced by SNL Studios in association with Universal Television and Broadway Video.

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought on board as staff in 2017.

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