We adapt

I’m sure you heard that Saturday Night Live returned last night and Tom Hanks served as a surprise guest host. Here’s the intro and Hanks’ opening monologue:

Everything about this makes me smile. It’s good to see Hanks up and about and looking well (he was diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-March). It’s good to feel that same SNL energy. And it’s great to have proof that during tough times, creative people still find a way to share their creativity.

If you’ll excuse an extreme transition …

A few weeks back, I listened to a conversation Bill Simmons had with Malcolm Gladwell when COVID-19 was first appearing in the U.S. The focus at that time was on the potential for panic and despair (two of the media’s favorite topics!). But Gladwell brought up a very interesting point about how the UK handled months of aerial bombing during World War II. The expected panic and despair didn’t occur. Rather, people came together. They supported each other. They committed to each other. They adapted.

What does this have to do with COVID-19 and SNL? It’s not the same, obviously. Bombs are different than viruses. Now is different than then. A comedy show is not on par with “Keep calm and carry on.” But, one thing most of the apocalyptic stories get wrong is the inherent adaptability of humans. We’re not very good at planning (cf. climate change), but we are pretty good at adapting to new situations.

That’s why, to me, something as trivial as SNL finding a way to come back is important. We know very little and control even less, but we can rely on our ability to shift, and change, and adapt.