While Saturday Night Live generally opts for comedy in its cold open, this week, there was no laughing.
Given the devastating Russian-Ukrainian conflict, this week’s episode began on a somber note. The Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York, introduced by Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong, performed instead. They delivered a mournful song for the audience with “Prayer for Ukraine” before the camera panned to a table of candles surrounding the name of the Ukrainian capital, “Kyiv.”
“Prayer for Ukraine” performed by Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York pic.twitter.com/5pi2l1Olpx
Following the emotional performance, host John Mulaney, who joined the five-timers club this week, took the stage to address his journey to sobriety. “It is amazing to be here hosting Saturday Night Live for the fifth time. For many, many reasons, I’m grateful to be here tonight, after a very complicated year it is wonderful to be in a place that’s always emphasized sobriety and mental health,” he quipped.
John Mulaney’s Monologue! pic.twitter.com/STa7blLH53
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) February 27, 2022
Mulaney then reflected on the intervention his loved ones hosted in December 2020 with six friends in New York and the rest on Zoom.
“I knew right away that it was an intervention,” he said. “Do you know how bad of a drug problem you have to have that when you open a door and see people gathered, your first thought is, ‘This is an intervention about my drug problem. There’s no other reason people would be behind the door.’”
Later he recalled the complicated process of breaking up with his drug dealers before revealing the first time he bonded with his 12-week-old son Malcolm, which he shares with girlfriend Olivia Munn.
“They put him on the warmer under this big bright light, and the light is just shining in his eyes,” Mulaney recalled. “He’s not he’s not crying or anything. He just looks up at the light and [puts his hands up] because he was annoyed. But he didn’t say anything, and I was like, ‘That’s my son: A polite man in an uncomfortable situation, but he’s not going to make a fuss.’”
The comedian was previously a writer on the show from 2008 to 2013. The last time he hosted the series was in 2020.