This weekend’s Saturday Night Live was a little different from past episodes. The decision to open with a show of support for Ukraine at the top of the show resulted in cuts and reshuffling. “Weekend Update” was where the changes were most pronounced, as the segment was cut down to just a few minutes of jokes from Colin Jost and Michael Che. Fans at home noticed, especially since it left beloved cast members without their spotlights for the week.
Instead of a traditional sketch at the opening, SNL began with Cecily Strong introducing the Ukrainian Chrosu Dumka of New York, who performed “Prayer for Ukraine.” This was the show’s way of showing serious support for Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia on Thursday. However, this did not stop Jost and Che from delivering several jokes about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“President Putin launched the attack with support from allies like Belarus and Tucker Carlson,” Jost said at the start of “Weekend Update.” Jost noted that Putin had to go through with the invasion after all that build-up, “kind of like how NBC still had to go through with airing the Winter Olympics.”
‘Short buy sweet… Hilarious’
Killer Weekend Update on this new episode. Short but sweet. Hilarious.
— Dan Majdali ?? BLMtoo ??? (@DanMajdali) February 27, 2022
Che then noted how this was a tough subject to joke about. “I mean, in my lifetime, I’ve seen footage of attacks like this on other countries, but never the white ones,” Che said. Later, Che said he was impressed by all the Ukrainians signing up to defend their country, even the celebrities. “If you ever read on the news, ‘Michael Che has joined an American war, we have just lost that war,'” he said.
‘Too short today’
Weekend Update is my favorite segment on the show and those two always bring it for me. Too short today, though, especially after such a long hiatus and many things happening that can be comedy fodder (you can do a whole WU segment on Kanye news alone ?)
— Sammy (@kando84) February 27, 2022
The mention of Russian forces taking Chernobyl also led to a reference to Harvey Weinstein. “Capturing Chernobyl is like landing an audition for Harvey Weinstein now,” Jost said. Shockingly, the entire “Weekend Update” segment lasted just over six minutes.
‘Every single joke landed perfectly’
— Dominic Salacki (@nicksflicks) February 27, 2022
After SNL aired, it was obvious that there were many cuts to the show. According to The SNL Network, Melissa Villasenor and Alex Moffatt both had “Weekend Update” bits, but they were cut during the dress rehearsal. Kyle Mooney also had a character that was cut even before the dress rehearsal. The sketches “Dinner Commercial,” “Family Band,” and “Podcast Set” were also cut.
‘Lots of sharp jokes’
#SNL That was a pretty sound (but short?) Weekend Update. Lots of sharp jokes. Some that made the crowd groan, which are my favorite.
Can’t remember the last time Update didn’t have a feature. I assume there’s big sketches coming, since they’re ahead of schedule.
— Chris is? (@cokes311) February 27, 2022
“Is it just me or was [SNL] [‘Weekend Update’] short this week? This weekend’s update feels like it could have addressed more given what [Ukraine] is going thru,” one viewer wrote. “I respect the chorus at the beginning of the ep, but I feel a more powerful message should have been sent. I’m disappointed.”
‘The price we had to pay to see that subway churro sketch’
#WeekendUpdate was so short but if that’s the price we had to pay to see that subway churro sketch, it was totally worth it
— Shallene Holley (@ShalleneHolley) February 27, 2022
“Must have cut weekend update short to make room for the 18-minute broadway number we’re bound to get,” one fan wrote. This was partly true. Host John Mulaney delivered another musical Broadway tribute sketch. It ran eight minutes, not 18 though!
‘Best SNL I’ve seen in a long long time’
Top to bottom best SNL in I’ve seen in a long long time
— Jason Vogel (@jasonvogel512) February 27, 2022
SNL will be back next weekend with Oscar Isaac and Charli XCX. The March 12 episode will also be new, with Zoe Kravitz and Rosalia guest starring. SNL airs at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC Saturdays and is available to stream on Peacock.