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"Saturday Night Live" musical guest Charli XCX (left), host Paul Rudd and cast member Ego Nwodim during a promo. Photo: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC'/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

"Saturday Night Live" aired with a limited cast and crew, no live audience and pretaped sketches, citing a "recent spike" of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Why it matters: For the first time in the show's history, producers scrapped their plans for the live taping and sent most cast members home just hours before it was supposed to air, per Washington Post. It comes amid a surge in COVID cases in New York City, largely driven by the Omicron variant.

  • The show was produced remotely to curb the spread of the virus, according to NBC.

What they're saying: "Due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience for tonight’s taping of 'Saturday Night Live,'" the show said in a statement.

  • The "show will have limited cast and crew," it continued.

Go deeper

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.