Saturday Night Live has had quite a resurgence over the last year or so, but after weeks of tragedy brought on by natural disasters and the horrific event in Las Vegas, the show did a very different cold open last night. Instead of having Alec Baldwin lampooning Donald Trump by tossing paper towels into the audience or playing a game of “What did he say?” with a parody version of Rex Tillerson, the show opened up with a tribute to the victims of last Sunday’s attack.
Country singer Jason Aldean, who was on stage at the Route 91 festival in Las Vegas when the shooter opened fire, was the first thing viewers saw. He introduced himself and said some very moving words in honor of the 58 dead and hundreds of wounded. He then began to play; but not just any song. They played I Won’t Back Down — a fitting song for the sentiment, but also to honor the passing of music legend Tom Petty. It was a pitch-perfect opening to acknowledge the tragedies and to bring people together.
The rest of the night was hosted by Gal Gadot and included a Weekend Update that was surprisingly straightforward about gun control. Colin Jost and Michael Che pulled no punches in their segment. You can watch all if it on the Saturday Night Live YouTube Channel.