It was no surprise that the SNL Season 42 finale ended with a bang. It was a celebration of the season that has passed while looking ahead to the future and saying good-bye to the two departing cast members, Bobby Moynihan and Vanessa Bayer. The person to lead it all was Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the WWE wrestler and actor, who became a five-time host with the Season 42 finale.
Johnson opened with a monologue in which he confronted rumors that he wants to run for office by announcing his intention to run for President of the United States in 2020. Who would be at his side? Of course, it would be Tom Hanks, who, they quipped, Americans like as much as pizza. Confetti rained from the sky as the pair raised each other's hands and the audience cheered. We swear that it was looking pretty palatable to us, especially when Johnson mentioned that he had been worried about his lack of experience until Trump won.
Johnson was also awarded his five-timer smoking jacket by Alec Baldwin before the sketches began.
The show then started in earnest, with most scenes involving Johnson, Moynihan and Bayer. Some were weaker, like a fart-based skit where the laugh relied on, yep, farts. But others showed SNL in top form, like when Johnson and Moynihan played WWE wrestlers KoKo WatchOut and Trashyard Mutt.
The two entertainers trade insults for a match promo, but KoKo WatchOut quickly makes the insults way too personal.
It was fitting that the cold open featured Alec Baldwin and his impression of President Donald Trump, a role that has defined the season of SNL and that will surely win the actor at least an Emmy nomination. Baldwin sat at the piano and sang "Hallelujah," a callback to earlier in the season, when Kate McKinnon's Hillary Clinton sang the song after the candidate's loss in November.
Baldwin was joined by the other key characters from this season (and from the administration), including Kellyanne Conway (McKinnon), Ivanka Trump (Scarlett Johansson), Melania Trump (Cecily Strong), Eric Trump (Alex Moffat) and Donald Jr. (Mikey Day). Even Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Aidy Bryant) showed up, along with Steve Bannon, played as always by Death.
This was one of a couple of small moments (another was during "Weekend Update") that the cast seemed to imply that the administration wouldn't be around to make fun of in the fall. Either that, or perhaps Baldwin and other key characters wouldn't be back to continue the weekly political flouncing in Season 43. We will have to wait and see what happens.
Moynihan and Bayer both announced that they are departing the show, and tonight was as much about them as it was Johnson and politics. Both longtime cast members were featured heavily in the night, and both were able to reprise their most memorable characters.
Bobby Moynihan showed up on "Weekend Update" as Drunk Uncle, everyone's least favorite person to sit next to at Thanksgiving. The racist, pro-Trump, slurring, sweater-wearing, ranting uncle pontificated on a variety of subjects from social media to politics to fidget spinners. We will miss him, in a way.
Bayer played a large number of roles, but none quite so wonderful as weather woman Dawn Lazarus, who chirps and coos her way through the forecast in a barely understandable mix of sentence fragments and botched sayings. We will miss her in all ways.
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