A season finale is always much looser than any other episode of Saturday Night Live, because just like school, class inside 30 Rock is getting dismissed, everyone’s leaving for the summer, and some of the kids ain’t coming back in the fall. So Lorne Michaels and the crew tends to let everyone in the cast have a little bit more fun, let the sketches run a little bit longer, and clear out some room when a long-time fave or two or three (or even four?) decide to head for the door.
Pete Davidson already said an early goodbye Saturday through his comedy writing friend Dave Sirus on Instagram, so what would he add during the show itself? Would he even show up for the finale? He’s been noticeably absent in 2022.
What’s The Deal For The SNL Cold Open For Last Night (05/21/22)?
We’re inside The Pentagon, where NSA agents played by Aidy Bryant and Mikey Day are interrogating and debriefing three women who’ve all endured their third alien abductions. Which means it’s definitely a swan song for Kate McKinnon’s Ms. Rafferty, who always seemed to have a more intense and troubling encounter with space visitors than her counterpart Cecily Strong’s character, or the guest host (in this case, Natasha Lyonne). And Kate’s tall tales always were good for making her scene partners break. That’s how more than 53 million YouTube views clicked onto her breaking Ryan Gosling six years ago. After plenty of graphic descriptions about her pubic-hair situation (“publicly speaking, it’s a jungle down there” worse “than a hipster’s beard stuck into an N95” “why clean the house if no one’s coming over, right?”), Kate agrees to join the aliens permanently in exchange for the US government getting alien tech. “I always kinda felt like an alien on this planet, anyway,” she said, before walking up a ramp, turning to wave, clutching her chest, and shedding tears in thanks for staying as long as she had. “I love you! Thanks for letting me stay away.”
So that’s one formal farewell before the opening credits!
How Did The SNL Guest Host Natasha Lyonne Do?
Natasha Lyonne may have made her SNL hosting debut, but she’s a longtime pro in show biz, sharing a clip of her as a child on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse during her monologue. SNL alums Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph joined her onstage to do their Lyonne impersonations, and Natasha acknowledged that she and “Freddie” used to date for seven years.
But how’d she do during the rest of the show?
In true callback fashion, they even almost aired a fake ad in the formerly traditional “fake ad slot” immediately after the monologue. In this case, it was a fake PSA for stupid people, but not for a medication to improve their memories or knowledge. Oh, no. This was a reminder that stupid people get to vote, too! Oh no
For an episode trying to clear enough time and space for several cast members to say goodbye, the writers also made sure to showcase Lyonne and her signature voice, too. In an old-timey radio broadcast of a baseball game, she played Dizz to Mikey’s play-by-play call and James Austin Johnson as the announcer, and put the dizzy in Dizz, promoting this new cold medicine called methamphetamine, reminding us which Yankees were alcoholics, and mocking Joe DiMaggio for landing Marilyn Monroe as his wife despite his appearance as “the ugliest son of a bitch.” Oh, and also, a filthy joke! “How do you fit four hookers on a chair? Turn it upside down!”
Natasha also played backup harmonica, roommate and landlord to Kenan Thompson’s lounge act trio, featuring Kyle Mooney as Brad Dates on keys. And somehow, Cecily as a dancer? This all played as kind of an alternate universe “What Up With That alternate?”
And Natasha played the femme fatale in flashback narration by Andrew Dismukes for a pre-tape about what happened to a high school class of 2002 over the past 20 years. The bit allows most of the cast (18 of them, I counted?) to at least get one appearance during the finale, through a series of one-liner zingers about what happened to Andrew’s classmates, and how Natasha’s character factored into almost all of it.
Fred also showed up to tickle a “dead” version of Natasha in a spoof mashing up the movies 9 to 5 with Weekend at Bernie’swith Cecily, Heidi Gardner and Ego Nwodim as the women trying to cover up the impacts of their revenge on the boss.
How Relevant Was The Musical Guest Japanese Breakfast?
Korean-American musician Michelle Zauner, who fronts Japanese Breakfast, released one of the best albums of 2021 and earned two Grammy nominations for it (best new artist and best alternative music album). She got booked on the show in May 2022, so, better late than never! She performed the first two songs from her “Jubilee” album.
At 12:13 am Eastern, we heard “Be Sweet.”
At 12:48 am, we heard “Peppers.”
Which Sketch Will We Be Sharing?
In an episode with at three formal goodbyes, we cannot pick just one to share above the others.
Who Stopped By Weekend Update?
Colin Jost and Michael Che completed their eighth season together as co-anchors of Weekend Update, and rank one and two in terms of most episodes behind the desk. staggering
We get one more visit this season from Guy Who Just Bought A Boat (Alex Moffat), who’s not expected to leave the cast, although we haven’t seen him so much this season, so who knows? If we never hear so much sexual innuendo along the lines of “Rick Steves needs to lick beavs,” that wouldn’t be so bad.
But we definitely got to send off Aidy during Update with one final appearance by her and Bowen Yang as the Trend Forecasters, breaking character with one final “OUT” for Aidy herself, saying it has been “10 long years,” holding Bowen’s hand and having him almost cry as he called her such a good friend. For a hot second, this segment also called out Michael Che’s final episode, too, although he gave his bouquet to Aidy at the end. So, we learned why they have to yell “Go to bed, bitch!” Why? “Because if we whisper, no one listens.”
And Pete did show up for the finale, after all. Although it was a bittersweet appearance, perhaps because he couldn’t match the sincere, heartfelt goodbye he delivered on Update last May??? He did get to make fun of FOX News for its hypocrisy regarding Dan Crenshaw, and noted some of the advice Lorne had given him over the years. Including this following Pete’s audition: “I don’t think you’re right for this show, so let’s screw this up together.”
What Sketch Filled The “10-to-1” Slot?
At 12:55 am Eastern, do we have time for one more goodbye sketch? Well, sort of. It’s one last go-around for Kate and Aidy as a duo, this time hawking Gray Adult Pigtails. With one more live sketch appearance by Kyle, whom the ladies called magic and referenced having met him “9 years ago” which equals the number of seasons he spent on the show.
Who Was The Episode’s MVP?
How do you say pick an episode MVP this week of all weeks? But even Che put a GOAT emoji on his Instagram Stories while watching Kate McKinnon wave goodbye in the cold open.
So no additional acknowledgments of cast departures during the good-nights, but don’t be surprised to see video messages and more on cast Instagrams come Sunday or Monday. That’s it for season 47. Look for follow-up analysis and best-of recaps in the days to come right here on Decider.
Sean L. McCarthy works the comedy beat for his own digital newspaper, The Comic’s Comic; before that, for actual newspapers. Based in NYC but will travel anywhere for the scoop: Ice cream or news. Hey so tweets @thecomicscomic and podcasts half-hour episodes with comedians revealing origin stories: The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First.