Last year, Kristen Wiig’s emotional SNL sendoff set a high water mark for cast member farewells. (Compare it to, say, the way Chris Kattan said goodbye with a “terrible re-enactment” of his SNL career during his last show 10 years ago.)
I’d say that mark was met — and possibly exceeded — by the closing sketch of tonight’s show, in which Fred Armisen (as punk rocker Ian Rubbish, first introduced when Vince Vaughn hosted a few weeks ago) sang a sweet original tune filled with simple, evocative lyrics like, “It’s been all right, I’ve had a lovely night.” He was joined onstage by bandmates Derek Gash (Bill Hader, who’s also leaving the show) and Keith Grimshaw (Taran Killam, who’d better not be going anywhere).
While Wiig’s goodbye paid tribute to her as a singular, standout personality, Armisen and Hader’s was more understated. But because Armisen is a chameleon, it’s only fitting that he bid farewell in character — and it was equally fitting to see Hader, the show’s strongest supporting presence (when he’s not playing Stefon), say goodbye while backing up one of his castmates.