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Watch: Saturday Night Live pays touching tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks

Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

Saturday Night Live is no stranger to having to put on a show in the wake of tragedy.

Most famously, it aired a somber opening to its September 29, 2001, show, the first after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That opening featured then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani and several New York police officers and firefighters, as well as SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels. Michaels asks Giuliani, "Can we be funny?" only for Giuliani to follow up with, "Why start now?"

The show for November 14, hosted by Elizabeth Banks, featured a similar challenge, as it was filmed just over 24 hours after the devastating attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people. Producing comedy in such circumstances, needless to say, is a challenge.

In lieu of its traditional cold open sketch, the show quietly acknowledged the attacks, however, opening with cast member Cecily Strong talking directly to camera, saying the show's heart is with Paris, in both English and French, before pivoting to the famous "Live from New York" catchphrase.

Strong said:

Paris is the city of light, and here in New York City, we know that light will never go out. Our love and support is with everyone there tonight. We stand with you.

You can watch the opening above.