SNL Announces First Host and Musical Guest of 2022

After taking a month off for the holidays, Saturday Night Live is planning to return to NBC for its first episode of 2022. The winter premiere is set to take place on January 15th, and the long-running sketch comedy series has just revealed who will be serving as the host and musical guest in its comeback episode. On Thursday, SNL announced that West Side Story star and Tony Award nominee Ariana DeBose will be hosting the episode, with Roddy Rich serving as the musical guest.

DeBose has been gaining some serious attention in recent years, beginning with her role in the original Hamilton ensemble on Broadway. The actress and musician went on to star in the title role of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, which earned her a Tony nominations. After stealing scene after scene in Apple TV's musical series Schmigadoon!, DeBose took on the role of Anita in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story. Her performance in the film has been attracting a ton of awards attention and will likely result in an Oscar nomination.

Fans are certainly excited to see what DeBose brings to the stage next Saturday, but there are still plenty of questions about the show itself that need to be answered before the new episode airs. The most recent episode of SNL, which was hosted by Paul Rudd on December 18th, was essentially cancelled due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in New York and around the country. Rudd appeared on the stage to start the episode (with no audience present), but the rest of the show was filled with pre-recorded clips. 

More and more events as of late are being cancelled or making the pivot to virtual platforms in the wake of another COVID spike. There hasn't been any announcement just yet in regards to how Saturday Night Live will handle the episode, which is set to take place in just over a week. At the very least, there's a good chance the show will take place without an audience in attendance. It doesn't seem as though the show will be returning to its full lockdown state of recording skits over Zoom, but there will probably be some slight changes from the other episodes this season.

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Saturday Night Live has two more episodes on the schedule for January, taking place the two weeks after DeBose's edition. The show hasn't yet revealed those hosts or musical guests.