[Note: We will post video of Saturday Night Live’s Ben Affleck episode as soon as they are made available online]
Ben Affleck joined the five-timers club as host, but departing castmember Bill Hader stole the show on Saturday Night Live’s season 38 finale.
Hader gave a cinematic sendoff to Stefan, that perennially irritating scenester kid. During Weekend Update, he faced his usual dressing down from Seth Meyers. Stefan had finally had enough, and announced he’d met someone else and was leaving Meyers. Meyers – who was joined at the Update desk by former co-anchor Amy Poehler – ran after Stefan and found him in a church. What came next was a fantastic (and surprisingly emotional) Graduate-themed segment featuring surprise guest Anderson Cooper as Stefan’s fiance.
In the show’s final sketch, Hader, Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis and Taran Killam played a British rock band saying goodbyes on the last night of a tour.
“It’s the last night here,” Armisen said.
“But we’re going to keep playing together,” Hader said.
The band began playing a song, and were eventually joined on stage by Armisen’s Portlandia costar Carrie Brownstein, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones, singer-songwriter Aimee Mann, and Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis.
Earlier in the week, a report emerged that Armisen and Sudeikis would be leaving the show, and while NBC has not commented on the report, it's worth nothing Armisen played the leader of the band. The focus was actually more on Armisen than Hader. Based solely on the sketch, signs point to an Armisen exit in addition to Hader's.
But lest we forget the host, it's time to circle back to Affleck. During his opening monologue, the actor-director addressed his odd Argo Oscars speech, in which he thanked wife Jennifer Garner but went on to talk about how marriage takes a lot of work. On SNL, Affleck brought Garner out to discuss what he really meant. What followed was a marital game of pingpong, with Garner saying she would have described their marriage as “a gift,” not work, and Affleck fumbling for a better explanation.
Affleck finally found his footing:
"I want to tell you how I wish I had ended that speech: I couldn’t do any of the things I do without you, without your support. You’re my angel, my wife, my world.”
The moment was shattered when Garner pointed out that he was reading the speech off of a cue card.
SNL moved on to imagine what would happen if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Armisen) were to make a movie about Affleck directing Argo. The result was spectacular. Bengo F--- Yourself saw Ahmadinejad wearing a Red Sox cap, doing a Boston accent and pitching his idea for a totally false CIA story. Affleck himself had a role in the movie as a sound technician.
“Why would I appear in this movie? Well, to be honest I’ve long been looking to appear in a movie worse than Gigli,” Affleck said.
Affleck sported a mustache and a paunch to play a member of a family of emotionally repressed police officers attempting to toast the engagement of a young female relative. In a less-than-successful sketch, he portrayed a counselor at a camp designed to turn gay kids straight.
SNL was on a gay sketch kick, apparently, with a prerecorded segment advertising anti-anxiety medication for people feeling worried about attending perfect gay weddings over the summer. One man (Hader) feared that he was an inadequate dancer at gay weddings, where he said guests knew choreographed Beyonce dances. Another (Moynihan) never had clothes that were good enough, and a third noted that President Barack Obama had called to congratulate his gay friends at their wedding, while at his wedding, his grandmother had called Obama the N-word. Not quite as classy of an event.
What did you think of SNL’s season closer? Sound off in the comments. And for those glum thinking about a Hader-less show next season, we recommend looking back at some of his best sketches here.