We’ll start this weekend’s recap of “Saturday Night Live” at the end, and a season finale that concluded with a particularly tearful set of goodnight waves from the cast. While several of them were merely saying goodbye for the summer, a few longtime performers made it clear during the broadcast that this was their last episode.
On Friday, it was reported that Kate McKinnon, who joined the “S.N.L.” cast in the spring of 2012; Aidy Bryant (fall 2012); Kyle Mooney (2013) and Pete Davidson (2014) would all be leaving the show at the end of this season. Davidson confirmed as much on Saturday afternoon in a post on the Instagram account of his friend and fellow comedian Dave Sirus, where he wrote:
I got to share so much with this audience and literally grow up in front of your eyes. We were together through the good and the bad, the happiest and the darkest of times. I owe Lorne Michaels and everyone at SNL my life. Im so grateful and I wouldn’t be here without them.
Indeed, this whole episode, hosted by Natasha Lyonne and featuring the musical guest Japanese Breakfast, had a valedictory feel to it. Heck, there was even a sketch about finding out what happened to a class of high schoolers after their senior prom. As Andrew Dismukes said in a voice-over, “Time took us all in so many different directions. For a brief moment, we were all there together, dancing the night away, with our whole lives ahead of us.” (Then we found out his character was murdered by a classmate.)
Historically, “S.N.L.” has been a bit stingy about allowing its departing cast members to take victory laps on their last shows. For every Kristen Wiig, who got a farewell serenade from Mick Jagger, there are countless other performers who have exited quietly in the off-season and even a few who seemed to be leaving but came back the following fall.