Season 39 of Saturday Night Live hit a few bumps in the road with Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers departing to host Late Night and controversy surrounding the lack of diversity in the cast. But truth be told, this season was a transitional one, and managed to go out on a high note with SNL alum and Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg returning to host the finale.
While I predicted some cameos, a few real heavy hitters from the former cast came out for Samberg’s first hosting gig. The show featured a cold open with impression master Jay Pharoah playing Jay Z and Sasheer Zamata as Solange “addressing” the infamous elevator fight controversy. Enter Maya Rudolph in her first appearance of the night, this time as Beyonce. I love Rudolph in any incarnation but truth be told her Beyonce impression is really her Whitney Houston with a little less crazy.
The opening monologue followed featuring Seth Meyers helping Andy beat Bill Hader’s impression record with Hader dropping in towards the end to fight for his crown.
The show featured some new characters and sketches like “Camp Wicawabe,” “Confident Hunchback,” and “Legolas at Taco Bell,” but was also filled with returning favorites. While we didn’t get a new installment of “Laser Cats” (I love you, Laser Cats) we did see the return of “Kissing Family,” otherwise known as the Vogelchecks, with appearances by Paul Rudd, Bill Hader, Fred Armisen and Kristin Wiig, “former” porn stars Brecky and not Brecky pitching for Bvlgari watches, “Kimye Talk Show” and “Blizzard Man” with 2 Chainz.
Samberg’s Nicolas Cage impression also returned to Weekend Update for “Get in the Cage” and fans were treated to not one, but two!, SNL Digital Shorts. The first was just as weird as we’d expect, making fun of DJ culture with the Scanners-style sketch “When Will the Bass Drop?” as well as a musical number from The Lonely Island featuring Pharrell in “Hugs.”
The musical guest was St. Vincent and Season 39 concluded with a lot of laughs and energy. There’s no doubt that next years 40th anniversary will a big one with a special already being planned by NBC for February 2015. Hopefully the cast will find their groove and pick up where Samberg’s episode left off.