"Let's Screw This Up Together": Here's How Former "SNL" Cast Members Broke My Heart Saying Goodbye To The Show

·10 min read

With the ending of another Saturday Night Live season comes the potential for cast members leaving, which is always a bit bittersweet. While you're excited to see what they do next, you're still sad they won't be on your television screen every Saturday night.

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Here's a list of some former cast members who honored the show and said goodbye during their last episode.

1.Kate McKinnon said goodbye during the opening of SNL's 47th season finale.

Kate McKinnon boards a spaceship and thanks Earth for letting her stay for a while

After a 10-year run on Saturday Night Live, Kate McKinnon left the show this year during the 47th season finale. In the sketch's opening, she played Ms. Rafferty, one of three civilians recounting their alien abduction experience to the United States government. While the other two civilians recalled beautiful, mind-altering experiences, Ms. Rafferty recounted being abducted, with her pants missing, by a group of aliens who were fascinated by her pubic hair.

At the end of the opening, the NSA agents said that the aliens had requested that one of the three civilians join them permanently, for which Ms. Rafferty volunteered. She then seemingly boarded the spaceship before turning around to look at the audience one more time. By this point, it was clear that McKinnon herself was getting emotional as she thanked Earth for her time here before opening the show with, "Live from New York! It's Saturday Night!"

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You can watch the full sketch here:

2.Seth Meyers said goodbye to the show with Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, and Andy Samberg.

Amy and Stefon greet Seth and he says that this was the job that he always wanted

The departure of Seth Meyer, as head writer and "Weekend Update" anchor, from Saturday Night Live was definitely a bittersweet moment, even if he wasn't moving far away. Meyers left the show to host his current late-night talk show, Late Night With Seth Meyers, a show that actually films in the same building as SNL. Meyers' last episode was hosted by Melissa McCarthy in February 2014, when he bid goodbye to the show midway through the episode on "Weekend Update," where he was (at that time) the longest-running anchor, having served in the role for eight years. This record would later be surpassed by Colin Jost.

In this episode, Meyers told his last joke on "Weekend Update" before being joined at the desk by his former "Update" cohost Amy Poehler and Stefon, a recurring "Update" guest (presented as Meyers' husband) who was played by Bill Hader. At this point, both Poehler and Hader had already left the show but returned for Meyers' last episode to "take him to the other side" of life after Saturday Night Live. Andy Samberg, another former SNL cast member, also joined the group to sing a comical, off-key rendition of the Boyz II Men song "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday." Meyers then took a moment to express his gratitude for the job as well as the cast, crew, and creator Lorne Michaels before signing off for the final time.

You can watch Meyers' goodbye here on NBC, or watch the episode on Hulu (Season 39, Episode 13).

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3.Phil Hartman said good night in a musical tribute.

Phil Hartman holds Chris Farley and looks into the camera

This was perhaps one of the first times that Saturday Night Live took time during a show to celebrate a departing cast member, and they couldn't have honored a more deserving person than Phil Hartman. Known for impressions like Bill Clinton, and original characters like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, SNL creator Lorne Michaels once said that Phil Hartman was the "least appreciated" cast member by those outside of the show's cast. So, it makes sense that the show chose to take a brief moment to shine a light on Hartman as they said goodbye.

During Hartman's last sketch, fellow cast members closed out the season by performing "So Long, Farewell" from The Sound of Music as popular recurring characters on the show. The sketch ended with Hartman holding a tearful Chris Farley as a spotlight stayed on the two of them before he bid the audience good night, clearly emotional himself.

After he left SNL, Phil Hartman starred in the NBC sitcom, NewsRadio, and lent his voice to numerous characters on The Simpsons. He was murdered in 1998.

You can watch the sketch here.

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4.Aidy Bryant said goodbye as a "trend forecaster" with Bowen Yang on "Weekend Update."

Aidy Bryant celebrates her time on SNL and Bowen Yang calls her "A friend I couldn't have done this without" before kissing her cheek with Michael Che

From the time she joined the cast in 2012, Aidy Bryant gave loads of laughs with characters like Melanie, a tween obsessed with her friends' fathers, and impressions like Sen. Ted Cruz. After 10 years on the show, it was announced this season that the finale would be Bryant's last episode. During her time on the show, she also developed and starred in the Hulu show Shrill and was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance.

In this "Weekend Update" feature, Bryant and castmate Bowen Yang appeared as "trend forecasters," predicting the season's ins and outs. During the category "future trends," Bryant broke character and acknowledged her tenure on the show while holding hands with Yang, who called her "a friend that I couldn't have done this without." At the end of the feature, Bryant proclaimed that there was a new "in" trend and announced it as "my best guys kissing me," after which Bowen and "Weekend Update" coanchor Michael Che kissed Bryant's cheeks.

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You can watch the full clip here:

5.The cast celebrated Will Ferrell during his final episode.

Tracy Morgan disparages Will Ferrell before being confronted by Will and admitting that he'll miss them before kissing his cheek

During Will Ferrell's final episode on Saturday Night Live in 2002, the show included a sketch of his fellow cast members praising him and recalling fond memories, including Chris Parnell remembering that time that he was fired from the show and then rehired because of Ferrell.

Castmate Tracy Morgan then took the opportunity to humorously air out his grievances against Ferrell, including accusing him of stealing his Walkman, talking behind his back, and giving his son a cigarette. Ferrell interrupted the skit, and Morgan admitted that he was acting this way because he was sad to see Ferrell go. Ferrell comforted him, and the two walked offscreen together, with Morgan leaning in to kiss Ferrell's cheek. Ferrell would actually return to host SNL five times, during which he brought back famous impressions from his time as a cast member, including Alex Trebek and President George W. Bush.

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You can watch the full sketch here:

6.Jimmy Fallon said goodbye to the show and sang "Summer Nights" from Grease.

Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey sing Grease's "Summer Nights" with the cast

Before Jimmy Fallon was the host of The Tonight Show, he was an SNL cast member for six years before his final episode in 2004. In an episode hosted by the Olsen twins, he, "Weekend Update" coanchor Tina Fey, and the rest of the cast sang Grease's "Summer Nights," replacing the word "summer" with "Saturday." Fallon began hosting "Weekend Update" in 2000 with Fey.

You can watch a portion of the sketch here.

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7.The cast and Mick Jagger celebrated Kristen Wiig during her last show.

Kristen Wiig stands with Mick Jagger and dances with her castmates onstage

Before starring in films like Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters, Kristen Wiig was a powerhouse on Saturday Night Live for seven years. During her final episode in 2012, one of the final sketches of the night loosely had the premise of a graduation ceremony, with cast members ready to depart the show wearing caps and gowns. Musical guest Mick Jagger then led the band Arcade Fire in a rendition of "She's a Rainbow" and "Ruby Tuesday" as Wiig danced with her fellow cast members before the show closed.

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You can watch Wiig recall the scene here:

8.Bill Hader said goodbye as Stefon and Seth Meyers got married.

Bill Hader as Stefon leaves Weekend Update and Seth Meyers crashes his wedding before returning to Weekend Update as "Seth and Stefon Meyers"

By the time cast member Bill Hader left the show in 2013, he was well known for his impressions of celebrity and political figures, as well as several original characters. Perhaps the best known of these characters was Stefon, a city correspondent on "Weekend Update." While Stefon was usually brought onto the show under the premise of sharing fun, family-friendly activities in New York, it quickly derailed as Stefon's recommendations grew increasingly more chaotic. The character was originally conceived by Hader and writer John Mulaney, with the two basing Stefon's look and mannerisms on people they had seen in real life, like club promoters and coffee shop baristas.

One of the appeals of the character Stefon was his banter with and crush on "Weekend Update" anchor Seth Meyers. During Hader's final episode, Stefon stopped by the "Update" desk to let Meyers know that he was getting married to someone else who he felt would actually appreciate him. Determined to stop the wedding, Meyers ran through the streets of New York before reuniting with Stefon in a Graduate-parody scene. The two returned to the "Weekend Update" stage to say good night and hug as fellow "Weekend Update" interviewees threw rice on them.

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You can watch the full sketch here:

9.Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis, and Bill Hader performed "It's a Lovely Day."

Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Jason Sudeikis perform a song onstage

It's not unusual for cast members to take their leave during a season finale, but Season 38 faced a hard loss when it saw the departure of cast members Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, and Jason Sudeikis. The trio used their final show in 2013 to perform as Ian Rubbish and the Bizzaros, a fictional punk band featured in a previous episode sketch. In this sendoff, Armisen, as Ian Rubbish, announced that this would be their last show for a while but they'd still play music together before the band began a performance of "It's a Lovely Day."

As the song played, Armisen was joined by fellow Portlandia creator Carrie Brownstein, as well as musicians including Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols. Armisen, Hader, and Sudeikis would leave the show and find success in their own projects. Hader would co-create and star in Barry, a role that he would win an Emmy for in 2019. Sudeikis also won an Emmy for his role in Ted Lasso, an AppleTV+ series that he co-developed. Armisen would co-create Portlandia with Brownstein and Jonathan Krisel and actually joined host Natasha Lyonne during the season 47 finale, and most recent episode of SNL.

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You can watch the full sketch here:

10.Pete Davidson discussed Lorne Michaels and his time on the show in a "Weekend Update" feature.

Pete Davidson describes auditioning for the show, when Lorne Michaels said he didn't think Pete was right for the show, "so let's screw this up together," before thanking the show for letting him grow

When Pete Davidson joined the show in 2014, he was known as the "resident young person" on "Weekend Update," stopping by to offer his perspective on personal events like turning 21 and moving in with his mom. As Davidson's popularity on the show grew, he also began working on his own projects, like The King of Staten Island, a film that he cowrote, starred in, and served as the executive producer on.

While he was absent for a portion of this past season, he did stop by during "Weekend Update" to announce that the season finale would be his last SNL episode. He thanked the show and also thanked Lorne Michaels for offering advice and not judging him at times when it seemed as if everyone else was. In addition, Davidson starred in a cut-for-time digital skit that included a parody of the song "Forgot About Dre," which was presented as a celebration of Michaels, and a guest appearance by the real Eminem.

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You can watch the full clip here:

Was there a cast member's goodbye that got you teary? Let me know in the comments!