Saturday Night Live Uses This Week's Cold Open To Pay Tribute To Kyiv With A Ukrainian Chorus

Last night's episode of "Saturday Night Live" directly addressed two rather serious topics: the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and the somewhat controversial return of comedian John Mulaney as a host. 

The episode began by thoughtfully using the show's cold open to pay a moving tribute to Ukraine. Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong introduced the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York, which sang a traditional Ukrainian anthem. In addition to the chorus, the tribute also included adorning the "Saturday Night Live" stage with sunflowers — Ukraine's national flower — and several lit candles arranged to spell out "Kyiv," the capital city of Ukraine.

While "SNL" is a comedy sketch show, the horrific situation that the people of Ukraine are currently facing is certainly no laughing matter, as evidenced by the somber tone with which the show's return from hiatus was used to highlight the Eastern European country's brave efforts to fight off the recent invasion of Russian forces who seek to occupy it under the orders of Russian president Vladmir Putin. This large scale act of military aggression has already resulted in the deaths and emergency evacuations of countless innocent people. The leveraging of entertainment media to address serious real-world topics isn't new at all, as evidenced by the Ukranian Film Academy's recent call for the film industry to boycott Russia.

John Mulaney's monologue

In addition to the powerful display of support for the people of Ukraine, the episode also featured comedian and former-"SNL" writer John Mulaney as a host, cementing his legacy as a member of the show's "Five-Timers Club," which includes anyone who has hosted "Saturday Night Live" at least five times. 

Unsurprisingly, the ever-candid Mulaney used some of his airtime to deliver a monologue addressing his battle with addiction, which became the subject of public scrutiny when the actor went to rehab between late 2020 and early 2021. In it, he intertwined his brand of dry humor with a description of the intervention that led to his recovery journey, which included "breaking up" with his drug dealers in his phone during his rehab stay, and the fact that his main drug dealer — who Mulaney says is actually a painter, and not really a drug dealer — was apparently very proud of him for getting sober. 

Mulaney also talked about being a new father, mentioning that his son's favorite brand of pacifier was recalled and that he could relate to his son's desire to use the dangerous pacifiers, saying "Welcome to my world, homey."