Live from Studio 8H, it's Carey Mulligan!
The star kicked off her monologue by joking about how "people in America" often mistake her for fellow actress Michelle Williams before she talked about her COVID lockdown in 2020. "I've spent the last year quarantining in the English countryside with my husband and my two small children, which is the beginning of most horror movies," Mulligan said. "So it's very exciting to be where shops are open. I've never thought I'd say this but walking into a Banana Republic was a magical experience. A big day for me."
The mom of two also joked about how she was not able to work due to the pandemic. Instead she "channeled all that dramatic energy" into bedtime stories for her children. "Lots of recently divorced dragons and unicorns with secret pill habits," Mulligan said. "So I'm excited to be here tonight to let some of that energy out."
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Also excited to be in New York City was her husband Marcus Mumford, who is lead singer of the band Mumford & Sons. "My husband was actually musical guest three times," she said. "But he couldn't be tonight so he's at home watching the children, so hi babe. Love you."
Then Mumford, 34, enthusiastically popped out of the audience section. "What a surprise! Hello, lovely to see you. Where are the kids?" Mulligan asked before he said, "I left them with the Sons. Couldn't miss this for the world. You're gonna smash it, really. SNL, this is amazing. Just be sure to soak it in because after it's over you're gonna think about it all the time, like all the time."
Mumford added, "And meant to ask, do you know if they booked a musical guest for tonight? If they end up needing anyone I'm happy to do it. ... Really I have my guitar."
Mulligan and Mumford wed in 2012 and they share kids Evelyn Grace, 6, and 3½-year-old Wilfred.
Ahead of her SNL hosting performance, Mulligan chatted with Deadline and revealed that hosting the series is her first acting gig since she completed shooting Netflix's The Dig back in 2019.
Mulligan detailed how acting roles have been scarce amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"I am very excited to do SNL just so I can act because I haven't acted in so long," she told the outlet. "My bedtime stories to my children have become increasingly dramatic and expansive, and I think I need to put that energy somewhere in the professional realm. I can't wait to get going."
Mulligan's SNL hosting gig comes a week after fellow British actor Daniel Kaluuya hosted the April 3 episode with second-time musical guest St. Vincent.
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Looking ahead, Mulligan now has the 2021 Academy Awards to look forward to later this month, where she is nominated for best actress in a leading role for her part in Promising Young Woman.
Also in the category with Mulligan are Frances McDormand (Nomadland), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman), Viola Davis (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) and Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday).
"It's surreal because Oscars were the furthest thing from our minds as we were making it," Mulligan told Deadline in a separate interview about Promising Young Woman. "It was such a passion project."
"Everyone was doing it because they loved it and they thought Emerald was a genius. They wanted to be a part of it," she added of director Emerald Fennell. "I'm so proud of Emerald."
Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.