The actor, who recently recovered from Covid-19, delivered the opening monologue, admitting that “it’s a strange time to try to be funny” – but expressing optimism for the rest of the programme.
He was joined later on by Chris Martin, who acted remotely as the evening’s musical guest.
“Ever since being diagnosed, I have been more like America’s dad than ever before,” Hanks said.
Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson were both in Australia when they tested positive for coronavirus last month. They have now returned home.
In his opening monologue on Saturday, Hanks shared some dispatches from his convalescence in Australia, expressing his bewilderment at having his body temperature taken in degrees Celsius as opposed to Fahrenheit.
Viewers were thrilled to see Hanks taking the reins for the evening.
“@tomhanks hosting #SNLAtHome after beating COVID-19 is exactly what we needed tonight,” one person wrote.
“.#SNLAtHome is so good and @tomhanks is the perfect host! Thanks, @nbcsnl!” someone else tweeted.
“#SNLAtHome with #TomHanks as surprise host is everything…” another viewer chimed in.