Harry Styles immediately cracked a few jokes at his expense the second he hit the Saturday Night Live stage as the show’s host — and he managed to deliver a One Direction punchline right off the bat.
On Saturday night (Nov. 16), Styles bounded onto the Studio 8H stage to deliver the opening monologue and started riffing on what he knows best: music.
“I’m a very serious musician, and nothing says serious musician like talking while playing the piano,” he said before strolling over to the instrument and taking a seat. Styles embraced his inner lounge lizard and smirked through a couple of jokes (“You know, in Britain we play piano on the other side of the road”) before rolling through his past achievements.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) November 17, 2019
“I don’t know if you’ve heard or not,” he continued. “I’m not in a boy band anymore. I’m in a man band. I was in a band called One Direction. How crazy would it be if they were here tonight?!” He paused and grinned, and continued to tease the possibility for a beat. “I love those guys. They’re my brothers. Niall, Liam, Louie… Ringo.”
The audience nervously laughed in his dramatic pause before Styles opted to name-check a Beatle instead of Zayn Malik, who left the group a year before One Direction went on hiatus in 2016.
This is hardly a surprise for Directioners, as Styles and Malik haven’t exactly been the best of friends. In a 2017 interview, Malik explained that they weren’t close, even when they were sharing a stage together: “To be honest, I never really spoke to Harry even when I was in the band… So I didn’t really expect that much of a relationship with him when I left. And I haven’t [had one], to be honest.”
Styles wrapped the bit with a good-natured jab at their former X Factor mentor as well: “I’m just so grateful Simon Cowell grew us in those test tubes.”
Watch Styles’ opening monologue on SNL below.