As four longtime cast members said goodbye on the 47th season finale of “Saturday Night Live,” it was Kate McKinnon who most explicitly ventured out into the unknown.
The 10-season veteran returned to one of her recurring roles, frequent alien abductee Colleen Rafferty, for the episode’s opening scene, which concluded with Colleen boarding a flying saucer to leave the safety of Earth forever.
“Thanks for letting me stay awhile,” McKinnon said.
McKinnon stuck with “SNL” well after establishing herself as a big-screen star with roles in “Ghostbusters” (2016), “The Spy Who Dumped Me” (2018) and “Bombshell” (2019). She’s set to appear next in “Barbie,” alongside Margot Robbie,” and “The Lunch Witch.”
All of the departing regulars — who also include Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant and Kyle Mooney — were indulged with signoff moments that suited their history on the show. Davidson, who did his best work speaking as himself on the Weekend Update desk, said farewell from there too.
He recalled that when he landed the job in 2014 at age 20, “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels said to him, “I don’t think you’re right for this job. So let’s screw this up together.” His departure, he hinted, was much like Dobby the house elf’s in the Harry Potter series: “Lorne accidentally gifted me a sock, so I’m free.”
Ever the stand-up comic, he got off a few zingers on the way out. Looking back on his 2018 gag about Texas politician Dan Crenshaw and the eyepatch he wore after a war injury, Davidson said, “I was simply making a joke about someone’s appearance without realizing the medical condition behind it was a sensitive issue.” Flashing a photo of Chris Rock being slapped at the Oscars, he added, “Which is an ‘SNL’ alumni tradition.”
But his final words were heartfelt: “I never imagined this would be my life I appreciate SNL for always having my back, for allowing me to work on myself and grow. Thank you to Lorne for never giving up on me or judging me even when everyone else was, for believing in me and allowing me to have a place I could call home with the memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you.”
Davidson also has been racking up film credits, notably the autobiographical 2020 feature “The King of Staten Island.” He’s planning to tap his own experiences again for an upcoming Peacock sitcom called “Bupkis.”
Weekend Update also was where Aidy Bryant got off her brief goodbye. Teamed with Bowen Yang as a pair of smug future forecasters, the former Second City star said one of the IN trends is “10 nice years.” Yang replied with an OUT: “A friend I couldn’t have done this without.” The bit ended with kisses from Yang and Update co-anchor Michael Che (who himself has mused about leaving “SNL” this year).
Mooney, a specialist in dork roles, got a shoutout that was goofy and relatively fleeting. As host Natasha Lyonne and several cast members played women flaunting their grey pigtails, Mooney turned up as the similarly styled man dating them all. “He’s like if a guy was magic and we’ll love him forever,” Bryant extolled.
Mooney concluded his nine-season run with this saucy pigtail metaphor: “What can I say? Can’t ride a bike with no handlebars!”