Last night’s episode of “Saturday Night Live” began with an emotional tribute to Ukraine. The country is currently engaged in a violent conflict after it was invaded by Russia last week.
In lieu of a traditional cold open, cast members Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong introduced the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York, who performed an emotional rendition of the song “Prayer for Ukraine."
The choir performed on the main stage in Studio 8H in front of a display of votive candles and bouquets of sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine.
At the end of the performance, McKinnon and Strong returned to the stage to deliver the iconic phrase, “Live from New York, It’s Saturday Night.”
As they spoke, the camera shifted to an aerial view and zoomed into the candle arrangement on the table, which read “Kyiv."
The Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York shared the video on Facebook.
“United we stand for Ukraine!" wrote the group. "Thank you for having us #snl.”
On social media, viewers applauded the comedy show for choosing to show its support for Ukraine.
“Tonight, #SNL opened with an absolutely breathtaking and beautiful performance by the Ukrainian Chorus Dumka of New York,” one user tweeted. “I was in tears.”
Another user said that the cold open hit "exactly the right note."
"Having sung this many times at the end of Ukrainian mass in my youth it brought tears to my eyes to see the wonderful @nbcsnl institution I have loved my whole life honor the Ukrainian sacrifice and stand united in the fight for a people and democracy to survive. Bravo!!" one Twitter user wrote.
Another watcher called the performance one of the "rare" times "the entertainment industry gets the reaction to a tragedy right."
Last night’s episode was hosted by comedian and former “SNL” writer John Mulaney alongside musical guest LCD Soundsystem. The episode marked Mulaney’s fifth time hosting the show, welcoming him into the exclusive Five-Timers Club.