This weekend, Ed Sheeran is set to stop by Saturday Night Live as the musical guest in a show hosted by Succession star (and eternal onscreen snot-boy treasure) Kieran Culkin. This pairing was announced on October 23, but the very next day, Sheeran revealed he'd tested positive for COVID-19 and had entered self-isolation and begun "following government guidelines."
For the past few weeks, that news had left the status of the upcoming show in limbo, and into that void even entered a viral plea to let The Mountain Goats play the show instead. But it seems that will not be necessary: Sheeran updated today (November 2) that he's been released from COVID-19 isolation and that he's "excited to hit the ground running with work again."
Some of that work, of course, is SNL, which he assured will indeed happen. "Posting this pic to say I’m released from covid isolation today, so if you see me out and about I've had the all clear and done my quarantine," he wrote. "Excited to hit the ground running with work again, and SNL is still on, so tune in Saturday, see you there."
Sheeran's fifth album, = ("Equals"), dropped on October 29, and presumably, he'll perform a pair of tunes from that release on SNL. Ahead of the album, he released the singles "Bad Habits" and "Shivers" and performed the latter at the 2021 MTV VMAs from Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City.
On the red carpet ahead of the VMAs, Sheeran told MTV News that = represents the penultimate entry in his math-themed musical series. "There's one more album after 'Equals, and then the mathematics are done," he said. The final one is presumably - ("Subtract"), a hypothetical collection he's teased as potentially entirely acoustic, or without the frills of a more polished and full-band studio-pop sound.
That's presumably still a few years away yet. In the meantime, Sheeran will make his third appearance on SNL as a performer this weekend, after previous spots in 2014 and 2017. Maybe he'll even be in a sketch or two. Perhaps him and Culkin will stage Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth in its entirety alongside Chloe Fineman to fill all 90 minutes of airtime. Who knows, man! Live television is wild.