If you're a fan of NBC's Saturday Night Live, then you know that an SNL season finale can be a rough one because it's "That Last Show" before another summer of specualtion gets underway about who will/won't be returning & who's joining the cast. That's usually when we get at least one shitty "Saturday Night 'Dead'" headline from an unoriginal headline writer. But this weekend's season finale (hosted by Natasha Lyonne with musical guest Japanese Breakfast) was quite a bit different. Along with bucking the tradition of ending the season with an experienced host (though you couldn't tell, with Lyonne bringing a level of fun & excitement to the stage that was infectious), SNL viewers were already given the heads up that Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, and Kyle Mooney would be departing after the end of the season in what could be the beginning of one of the largest cast-turnovers in quite some time. So with that said, props go out to Lyonne, Japanese Breakfast, and the cast & crew for pulling off an excellent season-ender even in the face of having to say goodbye… to the season and to some beloved member of the SNL family.
Between "Weekend Update"; Davidson, Bryant, McKinnon, & Mooney's "goodbye" sketches, and Japanese Breakfast tearing up the stage, there was already enough in play to earn the season finale top honors. But putting those aside, there were three additional sketches that stood out- each showcasing what the host had to offer. In "After High School," Andrew Dismukes' high school student narrates what became of his classmates. Without spoiling anything? You should probably keep away from Rachel Finnster (Lyonne) as much as possible. Following that, Lyonne plays an announcer during a "'50s Baseball Broadcast" who suffers from the side effects of his new "cold medicine" while live on the air. That new medication? Let's just say it rhymes with "methamphetamine" (with bonus props to Mikey Day with how he portrayed the frustrated straight man in the joke). And then we wrap this trifecta up with a "PSA" that drives home the point that anyone in this country who meets the basic requirements can vote. Anyone. Literally anyone. If this doesn't sober up folks to get out & vote down the "stupids" then I don't know what will.
In the cold open "Final Encounter," McKinnon's Colleen Rafferty makes one final return, being questioned at the Pentagon alongside Lyonne & Cecily Strong by Bryant & Mikey Day's agents before volunteering to go away with her alien abductors- but not before McKinnon shared some sweet, tender & thinly-veiled words at the end (though McKinnon does reappear near the end of the show in the "Women's Commercial" sketch to join Mooney for his "goodbye" sketch):
During "Weekend Update", Bryant and Bowen Yang's Trend Forecasters joined Michael Che at the desk to offer a final round of what's in & what's out before an especially touching exchange at the end. And appearing as himself, Davidson joined Colin Jost at the desk to cover a wide range of topics (including FOX "News" talking head Tucker Carlson being a hypocrite about making fun of Rep. Dan Crenshaw and Will Smith slapping Chris Rock), before saving his most heartfelt word for SNL creator Lorne Michael and the show for always being there for him even during the rough times (and major props for the "Harry Potter" reference).
When they were't serving as unofficial "hosts" for two of the show's main players' goodbyes, Jost & Che continued going for the headlines' throats with "Weekend Update." And once again, Jost & Che prove why they're never not funny… it just takes the audience awhile to catch up. And they usually do even if it's with a groan (a reaction that the duo almost appears to prefer. And topics were particularly all over the map for the finale, from Taylor Swift delivering a college commencement address and a woman being saved from a mountain lion attack by her dog to reports of black market baby formula, Trump's upcoming comma-loving, perioid-hating new book, and Arby's manager arrested for things you don't want going on in or around an Arby's, and a ton more. And then we were treated to the return of Alex Moffat's Guy Who Just Bought a Boat, offering romantic travel trips while Moffat won gold by sticking one lingusitic gymnastic landing after the other:
And we can officially add Japanese Breakfast to the list of musical guests on this season of Saturday Night Live who I'm going to be listening a lot more to, with Saturday night bringing lives performances of "Be Sweet" and "Paprika":