'I'm the celebrity canary in the coal mine': Tom Hanks hosts 'Saturday Night Live' from his kitchen

The actor, who recently battled Covid-19, fronted the first episode of the comedy show filmed from actors' homes

Tom Hanks made a surprise appearance as the host of 'Saturday Night Live' this weekend. YouTube / Screengrab

"Live from Zoom, it's sometime between March and August," signed in the team behind the Saturday Night Live talk show.

It appears working from home looks no different for the production team of the popular show than it does for the rest of the world, as proven this week when they conducted an entire episode via videoconference.

The hit sketch show returned to screens in the US this Saturday evening, but took on a new, virtual form, with clips filmed from homes of actors.

The experimental Saturday Night Live at Home special was helmed by Tom Hanks, the first major celebrity to reveal he was diagnosed with Covid-19.

The Forrest Gump star and his wife Rita Wilson, both 63, have since made a full recovery from the coronavirus, after they were diagnosed with the infection while in Australia last month.

In a surprise appearance, Hanks acknowledged his experience in his opening monologue, telling the audience he was "the celebrity canary in the coal mine for the coronavirus".

Hanks had been in Australia filming Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley biopic, and the actor referenced his treatment Down Under.

“The folks in Australia are fantastic in every way, but they use Celsius instead of Fahrenheit when they take your temperature,” the Oscar winner said in the segment, filmed from his home kitchen. “So, they come in and they say ‘you are 36’, which seemed very bad to me, but it turns out 36 is fine. Thirty eight is bad, so basically it’s how Hollywood treats female actors.”

Hanks also revealed his new bald look was for a film. He said he shaved his head but it was taking some time for his hair to return. He also joked that the show marked the first time he had worn a suit since being diagnosed with Covid-19.

“This is the first time I’ve worn anything other than sweatpants since March 11,” Hanks quipped.

The actor gave a stirring thanks to emergency and essential workers battling the coronavirus on the frontlines.

“We are in this for the duration, and we will get through this together," said Hanks. "We are going to thank our hospital workers, the first responders and all the helpers. The supermarket stockers, the people who are making takeout for us, the men and women who are keeping this country going at a time when we need them more than ever before. We are going to take care of them, and take care of each other. So, now, let us try to enjoy the show.”

The episode was the first SNL released since the outbreak worsened in the US last month. A March 28 show was postponed and production halted amid the pandemic.

Alongside Hanks, the show featured a musical performance by Coldplay's Chris Martin, sketches from regulars including Pete Davidson and Kate McKinnon, and a phone call from Alec Baldwin moonlighting as US President Donald Trump.

Producers have not yet confirmed if and when a new episode of SNL might land as preventative measures against the coronavirus in the US continue.