Chris Rock did not hold back as host of the first episode of Saturday Night Live back in its famed studio for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced the cast to perform from their homes.

Appearing on stage after the cold open, Rock did not pull punches with his first joke, getting the elephant in the room out of the way.

“President Trump is in the hospital with Covid… and my heart goes out to Covid,” he said to laughter and applause from the audience.

In the “Weekend Update” segment, Colin Jost quipped: “It’s been very weird to see all these people who clearly hate Trump say ‘we wish him well’. I think a lot of them are just guilty that their first wish came true.”

Michael Che added later: “I don’t want the president to die, obviously. Actually I wish him a very lengthy recovery.”

There has been some speculation online as to how the show would tackle not just the events of the past few months, but just those of the past week.

Later Rock said that America needs to renegotiate its relationship with the government calling for term limits.

The front rows of the audience in the show’s famed studio consisted of first responders who wore masks.

“President Trump is in the hospital with COVID and I just want to say, my heart goes out …. to COVID.” – Chris Rock #SNL

— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) October 4, 2020
Social distancing is implemented with “social bubbles” in the audience of between two and nine people who have repeatedly had contact with the others in the group on multiple occasions prior to the show.

Rock was a cast member from 1990 to 1993 and this was his third time hosting the show. He was joined by musical guest Megan Thee Stallion.

President Donald Trump was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Centre on Friday following his diagnosis with Covid-19.