Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson & Kyle Mooney Sendoff In Season Finale
Four longtime SNL cast members, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, and Kyle Mooney, were honored with farewells at the end of the show. Bryant, McKinnon, and Davidson were all given individual sendoffs with some of their most famous recurring sketches. It was a quiet, yet stunning, exit for Mooney, who has spent most of his tenure on the show as an underappreciated but essential performer.
McKinnon has been on the program for 11 seasons (her 211th episode tonight marked her most appearances on SNL than any other woman), Bryant for 10, Mooney for 9, and Davidson for 8. Other long-serving cast members include Michael Che, Colin Jost, Cecily Strong, and SNL mainstay Kenan Thompson, in addition to the four aforementioned individuals.
A sea change has occurred on the show with the departures of McKinnon, Bryant, Davidson, and Mooney.
Close Encounter, which has featured Kate McKinnon as one of her most popular characters on the show, Cecily Strong, and Aidy Bryant, was reprised in the finale's Cold Open, setting the tone for the farewell. It concluded with Coleen Rafferty, played by Kate McKinnon, boarding a spaceship to depart Earth forever.
“Well, Earth. I love you, thanks for letting me stay awhile”. Rafferty fought back tears as McKinnon exclaimed, "Live From New York, It's Saturday Night Live," he said, "I love you, thanks for letting me stay awhile."
Bryant and Davidson were both in attendance for Weekend Update.
For his farewell performance on SNL, Davidson, who made his mark on Weekend Update, returns to the show's fake newscast. Finally, he paid tribute to the show and its executive producer, Lorne Michaels, with a sincere thank you.
“I appreciate Saturday Night Live always having my back,” he stated. “Thank you, Larne, for never giving up on me or judging me, even when everyone else was and for believing in me and allowing me to have a place that I could call home, with memories that will last a lifetime. So thank you guys.
Bryant and Bowen Yang recreated their flashy Trend Forecasters characters in a Weekend Update parody. He announced that "My best guys kissing me" was in, resulting to Yang and Weekend Update co-host Michael Che giving her a kiss and shoutout, along with a bouquet of flowers.
McKinnon and Bryant, who have collaborated on a number of hilarious commercials, including the Home Goods holiday spot and an Apple Picking campaign, produced one final spoof, an ad for gray adult pigtails, in the closing skit of the night. Mooney had a cameo appearance in the film. (You can see the final sketches and curtain call of the leaving cast members here.)
In spite of the fact that the entire finale was a sendoff for the four retiring cast members, the traditional curtain call did not address their departure (photo above).
One of SNL's youngest ever cast members, Davidson has been on the show since 2014.Recently, he has been one of the show's breakout stars, having written and starred in The King of Staten Island (2020), as well as Bupkis (2022), which recently received a straight-to-series order at Peecock.
Having been on the program since 2012, McKinnon became one of the show's MVPs and won two Emmys in season 39 in 2013.
Rumors of her departure have been circulating for the previous few years, but she has remained, albeit less frequently than in the past. While she was away from the program filming Tiger King's written series Joe vs. Carole for Peacock, McKinnon took on the character of Carole Baskin in that show.
It was Bryant's second season on the show that saw her rise in the ranks. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Ted Cruz are among the personalities she has portrayed. Michaels-executive produced Shrill (2022) for Hulu, where she had a recurring role for three seasons.
Mooney, on the other hand, has been with the show since 2013 and was promoted to repertory player at the start of the 41st season, in which he recently played Johnny Depp.