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Here’s How SNL Said Farewell to Its Departing Cast Members

Saturday Night Live‘s season 47 finale was a bittersweet one. The Natasha Lyonne-hosted episode saw four longtime cast members depart, making it the biggest turnover in recent years. Deadline reported news of Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, and Kyle Mooney’s impending departures just a day before the finale. It’s not too surprising given their tenure, but it’s quite a blow given how reliable they are on any given week.

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Season 47 boasted the biggest cast in SNL history, with 21 repertory and featured players. Further, several of the cast members are longtime players and aside from perennial mainstay Kenan Thompson, many often move on as they approach the 10 season mark. During the finale, the series gave McKinnon, Bryant, and Davidson a moment to say goodbye.

Kate McKinnon Goes with the Aliens

Kate McKinnon was one of the biggest departures, signing off after 11 seasons on the series. McKinnon was absent for a handful of episodes early in the season while she filmed her Peacock series Joe vs. Carole, but naturally when she returned it was with a bang. Her swan song moment opened the SNL finale, with one of her goofiest characters, Colleen Rafferty, a chain-smoking oddball with a penchant for alien abduction.

During the sketch, Colleen Rafferty regaled the Pentagon and her fellow abductees of her latest romp with the aliens. And this time, she made things official and boarded their UFO for good. McKinnon, visibly moved by the cheering crowd, had the “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night” line solo. An all-timer cast member, it was a sweet way to end an outstanding run.

Aidy Bryant Sets One More Trend

Throughout her 10 seasons on the show, Bryant had so many incredible recurring sketches, often as various chaotic teens. But in season 47, Bryant and Bowen Yang occasionally appeared on Weekend Update as a pair of futuristic-looking trend forecasters. In the ridiculous bit, the pair dramatically announce what is in and out—and Michael Che is always out. It’s a delightful bit, pointing out the often-arbitrary trends that make headlines. It’s a shame we didn’t get more of them but it is such a great reminder at how hilarious Bryant is in every sketch.

Pete Davidson as Pete Davidson, One Last Time

Throughout his run on the series, Pete Davidson has played a host of characters but is probably most famous for being Chad and also himself. Throughout his eight seasons, Davidson often stopped by Weekend Update as himself, sharing updates and commentary—usually about his own life. So it only makes sense he, as Pete Davidson, said farewell via Weekend Update, with one final update. (And, of course, one last rap video.) During his segment, Davidson reflected on his time on the show—and the many, many headlines he made throughout—and thanked Lorne Michaels for taking a chance on him.

Unfortunately, the forever underrated Kyle Mooney didn’t get a special moment during the episode. In classic Mooney fashion maybe it was cut for time? Still, we look forward to seeing more from him in the future.

Hopefully we don’t have to say goodbye to Cecily Strong or any other longtime cast members before SNL returns this fall for season 48.

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