'SNL' Says Goodbye to Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and Aidy Bryant in Emotional Season Finale

May 21, 2022

Photo: NBC

BY Vish KhannaPublished May 22, 2022

Natasha Lyonne was a great host and Japanese Breakfast charmed in their two performances (plus a sketch). Departing cast members Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and Aidy Bryant were each given space to acknowledge the end of their tenures, while Kyle Mooney simply did the work, one last time. Here's everything that happened on an emotional season finale of Saturday Night Live.

The cold open

Over at the Pentagon, government officials played by Aidy Bryant and Mikey Day interrogated three women, played by Cecily Strong, Natasha Lyonne, and Kate McKinnon's crass, cigarette-sucking, anatomically creative Ms. Rafferty, who claimed to have been abducted by aliens. This has been a recurring bit for Strong, Bryant and McKinnon, and, with the latter two leaving the show this season, it was a sentimental, physical and custom-built for a visibly emotional McKinnon, who always made Bryant, who was clearly trying hard to keep it together, break in these.

The monologue

Comedian and Russian Doll star Natasha Lyonne bounded out with a couple of great jokes and then introduced her friends Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph, who did funny, croaky impressions of Lyonne. After they split, the New Yorker made some funny, self-effacing jokes about how, as a child actor, she looked like Annie and sounded like Dee Dee Ramone, showed a clip of her much younger self on Pee-Wee's Playhouse, discussed her struggles, and then brought a great monologue to a close.

I'm Stupid

In this fake ad, Lyonne and a number of cast members played characters that acknowledged that they were all really stupid but still permitted to vote. This was a rather brilliant indictment of democracy in America and beyond, where votes are counted equally even though the knowledge and intelligence levels of the voters are all over the place. 

Yankee Stadium, 1951

Lyonne and Mikey Day played announcers at a Yankee Stadium in 1951 and her character, Dizz, revealed that they were taking meth to help overcome a cold. As such, Dizz was high and spoke openly about everything, including Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe's relationship, Babe Ruth's "Cleveland story," and other wildly inappropriate anecdotes. Lyonne was amazing in this, and Day did his incredulous straight man bit as expertly as he always does.

The Treece Henderson Trio' Summer Gig

Kenan Thompson played Treece, the leader of a lounge act, and was amusing just asking the assembled audience if anyone had any Nasonex nasal spray. Henderson then introduced his strange band, including Kyle Mooney's keyboardist, Cecily Strong's dancer, and Lyonne's harmonica-playing Cassie, who was also Henderson's landlady. When a psychic played by Chloe Fineman had a vision about some happenings at the dwelling owned by Cassie, Henderson freaked out, and this manic sketch concluded.

The Places We'll Go

In this bleak remote, Andrew Dismukes played an adult recalling his 2002 prom and reflected on where his various classmates wound up. Most of the cast played a role in this remote, and Lyonne played Rachel Finnster, a central figure and, by most accounts, one of the worst people in the whole world.

Japanese Breakfast

Michelle Zauner's Japanese Breakfast took to a very artfully designed stage, festooned with about a billion light bulbs, and charmingly blasted through the colourful indie-pop of "Be Sweet."

For their second performance, the band were more brightly lit, with Zauner joining her band in an all-white outfit, banging a gong for emphasis in between pushing her slight voice to full power and putting the orchestral, guitar-less indie-pop of "Paprika" across in a pleasant and compelling manner.

Weekend Update

Colin Jost began Update by letting us know the world is generally a very horrible place, before Michael Che ridiculed Tucker Carlson's replacement theory hysteria. Che also destroyed Elon Musk's denial of committing sexual harassment, while Jost highlighted Taylor Swift's recent commencement speech.

Alex Moffat's brilliant douchebag, A Guy Who Just Bought a Boat, returned and punctuated all of his absurd innuendo by admitting he over-compensated because he has a small penis. As always, this was stupendous stupidity; Moffat is incredible.

Che made a great Hollywood ageism joke about Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren, while Jost made a funny jab about nuns joining TikTok. Aidy Bryant got a huge ovation when she and Bowen Yang appeared at the desk as their trend forecaster characters, who remained some amalgam between Sprockets and Stefon, and often put people down by screaming, "Go to bed, bitch!" It was an emotional and sentimental segment but also funny.

Jost led us through a somewhat elaborate Arby's put-down, while Che doubled down on a rough bit about an 82 year-old college graduate. Pete Davidson made his final appearance at the desk — the spot which first made him famous ± with a very funny blast of stand-up while sitting down, which ended with him praising and thanking Lorne Michaels, and an earnest address to the audience.

9:15 to 5:10

In this riff on 9 to 5, Cecily Strong and Ego Nwodim played characters welcoming one played by Heidi Gardner to a company helmed by a horrible boss named Mr. Dooley, played by Lyonne. Before colleagues played by Fred Armisen and Kyle Mooney dropped by for a visit, Gardner's character had already shot Dooley to death, which led to a ridiculous bit of physical comedy that recalled Weekend at Bernie's and had the assembled performers cracking up.

Grey Adult Pigtails

In their final turn as the kind of wacky duos they often played together, Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon played women hawking the concept of grey adult pigtails in a faux infomercial. It also featured Lyonne, Heidi Gardner, the also departing Kyle Mooney as Richard, and Michelle Zauner, who, armed with a guitar, helped this whimsical thing end with a sing-along. A nice, sweet way to end this season finale and say farewell to some beloved cast members.

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