Saturday Night Live is known for making light out of the most intense political situations, but NBC‘s long-running sketch comedy series opted for a moment of solidarity during its February 26 cold open.
As Ukraine continues to fight a Russian invasion, SNL invited some special guests to honor the nation. The Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York was introduced by series regular cast members Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong who promptly exited the stage to let the singers perform.
On the setlist? A special performance of “Prayer for Ukraine,” a fitting tune for the occasion, the singers were joined by the show’s house band on a stage lit by candles and decorated with flowers. By the time the singers’ performance came to an end, the camera panned down to unveil lights spelling out “Kyiv,” the Captial of Ukraine.
Avoiding a loud and boisterous introduction, McKinnon and Strong both reentered the scene following the choir’s performance to deliver the traditional, “Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night,” introduction. The moving moment was a departure from the show’s usual cold opening tone, reflecting the week’s somber headlines.
The gesture follows a week filled with homages to Ukraine which is fighting to maintain its independence against Russia. Even earlier this week, the Empire State Building took on the country’s blue and yellow flag for its light display.
Catch the choir’s performance, below, and let us know what you thought about the moment in the comments section.
Saturday Night Live, Season 47, Saturdays, 11:30/10:30c, NBC