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'Saturday Night Live' will re-air 2002 episode hosted by John McCain

The Arizona senator reportedly missed a vote on a defense budget to rehearse for the show.

Sen. John McCain attends the Senate Armed

 Sen. John McCain attends the Senate Armed Services committee's hearing on the nomination of Richard Spencer to be Secretary of the Navy, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. in July, 2017.   Photo Credit: MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/REX/Shu/MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

NBC on Saturday (11:29 p.m., Ch. 4) will re-air the Oct. 19, 2002 edition of "Saturday Night Live" hosted by the late Sen. John McCain.

That was the edition when McCain said in his opening monologue, "they tell me I'm the first sitting senator to ever host this show," then added/quipped: "They asked President [George W.] Bush but apparently he doesn't like to work on weekends."

And for a quick reorientation, this was back when Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey were "Weekend Update" anchors, while  Tracy Morgan, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph were still in the cast (yes, this was even before Kenan Thompson, who joined the following season.)

Al Gore hosted a few weeks later. (Why politics? The 2002 midterms were in November).

McCain -- who died Aug. 25 at his home in Arizona following a battle with brain cancer and was honored at  the Rotunda of the United States Capitol Friday -- got good notices for his "SNL" debut although some wondered why he had decided to host the show. (He had reportedly missed a vote on a defense budget to rehearse.)

He told The New York Times the following week, "I was able to communicate with young people who, with all due respect, would never have gotten up to see me on a Sunday-morning show. What I hope it does is arouse their interest in what guys like me do and what I'm up to and I'm a real human being, instead of some stiff, as they cycle with the channel changer through C-SPAN."

The 44th season of "SNL" launches Sept. 29.

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