The theme of last night’s season finale of Saturday Night Live was “goodbye”. The cast and crew, of course, were putting a bow on Season 42, but they were also saying goodbye to at least two cast members, both veterans. After nine seasons, Bobby Moynihan delivered his final farewell wave from the stage last night as he moves on to star in his own series on CBS next fall, and yesterday it was revealed that Vanessa Bayer would not be returning in the fall. Both cast members reprised popular Weekend Update characters before leaving- and there was a late-in-the-show sketch about graduating and moving on (you can skip that, there’s a reason it was on late in the show), but there were no big on stage goodbyes for (or from) either Vanessa or Bobby at the end of the night, just a quick standard goodnight before cutting to a commercial. Moynihan reprised his legendary Drunk Uncle character and Vanessa Bayer repeated a new character that debuted last week- a nervous and confused weatherwoman.
Saturday Night Live also said goodbye to President Trump, not-so-subtly speculating that Donald might not be returning for another season. It’s not Alec Baldwin they might lose– they’re wondering if the President himself might be moving on to other things before the show returns in the fall. The cold open harkened back to the day after Hillary lost the election. Leonard Cohen had died in the same week, the show opened with Kate McKinnon (as Hillary Clinton) at the piano playing and singing a mournful version of Cohen’s stunner Hallelujah, paying tribute to the twin gigantic losses for America. This week’s open featured Alec Baldwin at the piano this time, in character as Trump of course, singing the tune, and joined by his entire team (minus Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer). Kate McKinnon appeared as Kellyanne Conway, Beck Bennett as Mike Pence, Mike Day and Alex Moffat joined as Trump’s sons, Don Jr. and Eric, Aidy Bryant appeared as Sarah Huckabee, the Grim Reaper appeared as Steve Bannon, and Scarlett Johansson appeared as Ivanka.
Another clue that SNL is thinking Trump might not still be President when they return, they said so. Weekend Update opened with Colin Jost, once again, remarking that this week was “crazy.” “Obviously, Trump’s not done yet,” he said, “but let’s just say Mike Pence is definitely warming up in the bullpen.” He added, “with the White House reeling from allegations of obstructing justice, President-for-now Trump said point blank, that he never told FBI director James Comey to end the Russia investigation. So this sets up a real dilemma. Who are you going to believe, the head of the FBI, or the guy who is definitely lying?” Che joked about the new special counsel that will be investigating Trump, and took on Trump’s “witch hunt” tweet. Also covered, Trump calling Comey a “nut job”, classified leaks, the President’s trip to the Middle East, and an In Memoriam montage to the people Trump has lost in his first few months in office. NBC did announce that SNL will have 4 prime time specials this summer during August, featuring their Weekend Update duo. Given the killer season they’ve had, and the current state of politics, Jost and Che will definitely be needed to work over the summer.
Not everything on SNL was Trump-related last night. Dwayne Johnson hosted and delivered a solid monologue where he talked about running for President (oh wait, that’s Trump-related too). It was his fifth time hosting the show, and fellow Fivers Alec Baldwin and Tom Hanks joined him on stage. Johnson addressed the current movement to see him elected President, magnanimously accepted and invited Hanks to be his universally beloved running mate. There were some funny jokes about Baldwin having too murky of a public persona to be a part of the team, and Baldwin played to his own ego. Overall a solid monologue even though Hanks called Johnson “Wayne” instead of Dwayne.
Overall, it was an outstanding episode with two stand-out perfect sketches, one controversial sketch that will have the country arguing on social media and message boards all day, a few funny but forgettable, and then a couple of clunkers- but that’s unavoidable. The sketch everyone is talking about, World’s Most Evil Invention, starred Johnson as an evil scientist who shows up with an entry for the “Annual Most Evil Invention in the World Contest” with a true shocker, not only shocking to the scientists, but to SNL audiences as well. While other competitors talk about shrink rays and freeze rays, Dr. “Roy” invented a child molesting robot. You can read more about social media’s reaction here. Child Molesting Robot might be the most talked about sketch of the night, but it wasn’t necessarily the best. Hilarious in concept, well written and well performed, it fell apart at the end of the sketch, veering off into a bizarre White Castle commercial, keeping it from being our top sketch last night.
At the top of our list was the flawless “Scorpio” featuring Dwayne Johnson as a superhero who reveals his transformation from mild-mannered businessman “Steve” to crime fighter to his co-workers, who are shocked, and very impressed– with his seamstress skills. Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Sasheer Zamata co-star.
Johnson starred with Bobby Moynihan in our second favorite sketch of the night as WWE star “Koko WatchOut” cutting a promo with “Trashyard Mutt.” The two were reprising their pro wrestling personas from a sketch when Johnson hosted in 2015. Koko doesn’t get the promo concept and seems to have been watching a few too many Roast Battle shows on Comedy Central. He goes for the below-the-belt shots at Mutt’s personal life, leaving Trashyard sad and confused. It was great to see Moynihan go out with such a killer sketch.