For the first time in 42 seasons, "Saturday Night Live" will air live from New York across all mainland U.S. time zones, NBC announced Thursday.

"That way, everyone is in on the joke at the same time," NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement.

Fans in Mountain and Pacific time zones have, until now, had to watch the show on tape delay.

SNL's new simulcast will debut April 15 with the return of former cast member and "Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon.

SNL will close out its most-watched season in 24 years with four of the new completely live shows. Viewership for the late-night sketch comedy show was up over last year, averaging 11 million viewers weekly, NBC said.

News of the shift to simultaneous nationwide airing comes after a separate announcement this week that the show's beloved "Weekend Update" would broadcast special editions of the segment in prime time over the summer.

Hosts Chris Pine (May 6), Melissa McCarthy (May 13), and Dwayne Johnson (May 20) round out the live cross-country experience.

"Saturday Night Live" airs on NBC, a division of NBCUniversal, which also owns NBC News.