"It's good to be here, but it's also weird to be here hosting Saturday Night Live from home," Hanks, 63, said from what appeared to be his kitchen. "It is a strange time to try and be funny, but trying to be funny is SNL's whole thing, so what the heck, let's give it a shot."
Hanks kicked off the monologue with a greeting made famous by Tiger King’s Carole Baskin, saying, “Hey all you cool cats and kittens”.
He then referred to himself as the “celebrity canary in the coalmine for the coronavirus” and joked: “Ever since being diagnosed I have been more like America’s dad than ever before. No one wants to be around me very long and I make people uncomfortable.”
“I was diagnosed back in March with the coronavirus,” Hanks continued. “I was first diagnosed down in Australia. Now the folks in Australia are fantastic in every way, but they use celsius instead of fahrenheit when they take your temperature, so when they come in and they say, ‘you’re 36,’ which seemed very bad to me, but it turns out 36 is fine. 38 is bad.
“Basically, it’s how Hollywood treats female actors,” he quipped.
The actor, who said he and his wife Rita Wilson are now “doing fine”, then threw to questions from ‘audience members’ which were actually just himself in costumes.
In one of them, Hanks pretended to be an Australian man who asked: “I’ve got a question for Tommy Tim Tam, what’s the right proper way to get a daily dose of your Vegemite?”
The camera cut back to Hanks in his hosting role who fobbed off the question with a laugh before saying, “enough of that”.
In the last monologue, he thanked healthcare workers, delivery workers, grocery workers and the frontlines workers who have been tirelessly working amid COVID-19 pandemic.
This was the first episode of SNL to air in five weeks after the production was shut due to coronavirus pandemic.
"This Saturday Night Live is going to be a little different, for one thing it's been filmed entirely by the SNL cast who are currently quarantined in their homes. Also, there's no such thing as Saturdays anymore," Hanks said. "And we're not really live, but we're doing everything we can to make this feel like the SNL you know and love."
It is still unclear when the show will be back on as usual.