Saturday Night Live ratings soar to 3-year high after election with host Dave Chappelle

James Hibberd
·2 min read

Rosalind O'Connor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Post-election fever — and host Dave Chappelle — propelled Saturday Night Live to its biggest ratings in more than three years.

The Nov. 7 episode, which also had Foo Fighters as its musical guest, was taped just hours after the nerve-wracking presidential election was finally called for Joe Biden, and it seems as though viewers were more than ready for some comic relief.

SNL had 9.1 million viewers and a big 2.6 rating among adults 18-49. That made it the top entertainment telecast in the demo since ABC's presentation of the Academy Awards back in February, during the pre-pandemic era. It's also the highest-rated SNL since May, 2017 (with host Melissa McCarthy) and the second most-watched SNL since that episode as well (topped only in total viewers before then by a 2019 telecast hosted by Eddie Murphy).

The ratings were split, however, when you compare the episode to the grim-toned 2016 post-election episode — which was also hosted by Chappelle (this election's post-decision episode was slightly higher in total viewers, yet lower in the 18-49 demo). SNL also picks up a lot of eyeballs in time-delayed viewing, so its numbers generally can roughly triple the early returns.

Still, as episodes go, the SNL show cast probably would have preferred to have set records with a different entry, as fans thought the most recent show wasn't their best work.

The episode was notable for Alec Baldwin announcing he was saying farewell to his longtime portrayal of Donald Trump (but something tells us he'll probably still show up from time to time, as Trump's probably going to keep making headlines, at least in the near term).

SNL will return in December. The next host and musical guest have not yet been announced.

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