Saturday Night Live Shares Chris Rock's First Monologue

For the first time in six years, Chris Rock is returning to host Saturday Night Live — the series that helped to launch his career some 30 years ago. To celebrate the comedian's return, the SNL Twitter account has shared a snippet of Rock's first-ever opening monologue on the show, an episode that took place on November 2, 1996, during Season 22. At the time, the likes of Will Ferrell, Jim Breuer, Chris Kattan, Norm Macdonald, Tracy Morgan, Cheri Oteri, and Molly Shannon were members of the cast.

Coincidentally enough, Rock takes a moment in the monologue to poke fun at the sudden popularity at shopping malls. Now, thanks to the advancement of online shopping, most would consider the traditional mall a thing of years past.

Rock has hosted the live sketch show three times, once in 1996, another time in 2014, and the Season 46 premiere later tonight. The comedian appeared on the show from 1990 until 1993.

After Season 45 finished episodes produced remotely, SNL creator Lorne Michaels previously said a return to the studio at 30 Rock was a must for this season. As such, the show will feature a limited audience that undergoes testing for COVID-19 prior to their access to the studio.

"We need the audience, obviously. With comedy, when you don’t hear the response, it’s just different. With the kind of comedy we do, which quite often is broad, timing gets thrown off without an audience," Michaels explained. "And for me, what is most important is when you’re absolutely certain of some piece on Wednesday, and then the dress-rehearsal audience sees it on Saturday and tells you you’re wrong.

He added, "I think us coming back and accomplishing the show will lead to — I hate to use the word normalcy — but it’s a thing that is part of our lives coming back, in whatever form it ends up coming back. So the physical problems of doing it — number of people who can be in the studio, number of people who can be in the control room, how you separate the band so that they’re not in any jeopardy — all of those are part of the meetings we’ve been having"

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Saturday Night Live returns tonight at 11:30 p.m. Eastern.

Cover photo by Rosalind O'Connor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images