Home Television “SNL” Comes Back Strong for Season 47, Kate McKinnon Mysteriously MIA, Two...

Does Kate McKinnon have COVID? Or did she just agree to return to “SNL” for Season 47 at the last minute?

Something has to explain McKinnon’s absence from the season opener last night. Of all the returning long term cast, she’s the only one who didn’t show up. Even if she were filming her long-aborning Joe Exotic TV series, she could have made an appearance, a wave, something.

Aside from Beck Bennett, who exited after 7 seasons, “SNL” brought back all of its regulars: Kenan Thompson (18 seasons), Aidy Bryant (9), Cecily Strong (9), Colin Jost (8), Kyle Mooney (8), Michael Che (7). Mikey Day and Alex Moffat remain strong, important players. And Pete Davidson, of course, who seemed like he couldn’t believe he was back after basically signing off at the end of Season 46.

But no one has anywhere to go right now, not even Kenan, who actually has his own sitcom on NBC. Things are that uncertain in Hollywood right how. Kate, Cecily Strong, and now Aidy Bryant are all doing commercials, which is unusual for regular “SNL” cast members.

Who seems to have benefited from all the changes? Ego Nwodim has blossomed into a star. She was all over the show last night, and seemed much more invested in what was going on. I loved her “Black Woman Who Is Missing” on Weekend Update. She’s definitely got to bring back her Dionne Warwick– and the show should really have Dionne make an appearance.

All of the segments were better last night than most of last spring. Owen Wilson was a very comfortable and above-average host. (This week with Kim Kardashian coming is going to be frightful.) Kacey Musgraves was an excellent musical guest. She was actually talented, and very impressive, unlike a lot of the musical guests from last season.

Two key “SNL” players with 40 year histories seem to have retired. Colin Jost held up a sign in the finale that read “We’ll Miss You Ken.” Ken Aymong has been a producer on the show since around 1982. Also Don Roy King is stepping down after four decades. They are each multiple Emmy winners. We owe them a world of thanks for entertaining us basically for a lifetime.

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