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The Real Reason Saturday Night Live Won't Have A Live Audience For Paul Rudd's Episode

Paul Rudd is set to host tonight's episode of "Saturday Night Live," one of his biggest gigs since his crowning as the much-deserved Sexiest Man Alive. Rudd is everywhere these days, from the recently released "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" to Apple TV's "The Shrink Next Door." With two high-profile works in the headlines, it's no wonder he was chosen to host "SNL."

Musician Charli XCX was set to join Rudd tonight on stage, which would have marked the singer's second time performing on the variety series. It's an even bigger return for Rudd, who will be hosting "SNL" for the fifth time. We fully expect there to be a skit or reference to the Five-Timers Club, but if other members of the high-profile club show up for a cameo remains to be seen. However, there may be no other returning hosts due to the current concerns surrounding the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. This is something that has already drastically changed plans for tonight's "SNL" episode.

The Omicron variant has forced out a live audience

According to the "Saturday Night Live" Twitter account, there will not be a live studio audience for Paul Rudd's episode on December 18. "Due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience for tonight's taping of "Saturday Night Live" and the show will have limited cast and crew," the tweet read. The thread also noted that "SNL" follows all safety protocols and is adhering to "rigorous testing" rules.

Charli XCX also noted on her Twitter that she would not be performing tonight due to the limited crew allowed on set. The singer stated that she was "devastated and heartbroken" but promised her fans she would be back.

This news shouldn't come as much of a surprise, because as The Hollywood Reporter notes, the entertainment industry in New York City has been canceling live shows in the wake of Omicron's spread. This marks the first time in Season 47 of "Saturday Night Live" that there will not be a live audience. At this time, there is no clarity on if this is just a one-week precaution or if it will extend into further episodes.