“Saturday Night Live” paid tribute to Ukraine by featuring a folk chorus singing a traditional anthem from the troubled Eastern European republic while a cluster of candles spelt out “Kyiv.” The 47th season of the late-night staple began with Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong presenting members of the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York in the 13th episode.
The powerful choral piece “Prayer for Ukraine” was performed by a group of male and female singers dressed in finely embroidered traditional clothes. It expressed the resilient spirit of the nation, which has been under attack from Russia on many fronts since earlier this week.
A cluster of candles and bouquets of yellow flowers were placed on the “SNL” stage, representing Ukraine’s national colors of yellow and blue. Following the conclusion of the song, McKinnon and Strong returned to give the opening “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night,” while the camera zoomed in on a cluster of candles spelling out “Kyiv,” the Ukrainian capital.
The episode was hosted by “SNL” alum John Mulaney, who enters the illustrious “five-timers” club of hosts who have fronted the show five or more times. Steve Martin, Drew Barrymore, Tina Fey, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Scarlett Johansson, and Melissa McCarthy are among others on the list.
Mulaney, a two-time Emmy winner (one for his work on “SNL”) and multi-hyphenate, wasted no time in his opening monologue addressing his public problems with addiction and his stay in rehab in late 2020 and early 2021. He began by mentioning “SNL’s” image as a haven for hard-partying performers, writers, and other creatives, and how comfortable it was to be in an atmosphere that has always promoted sobriety and mental wellness.
Prior to Mulaney, actor Paul Rudd became the newest member of the five-timer club on Dec. 18, when he hosted a “SNL” episode with no studio audience due to the omicron strain COVID outbreak that ravaged New York late last year. LCD Soundsystem was the musical guest and it was the first new “SNL” episode since Jan. 29, when Willem Dafoe hosted and Katy Perry performed.
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