The “Saturday Night Live” cast and premiere host Chris Rock kicked off the show’s season finale with an emotional reflection on the events that shaped the sketch-comedy show’s 46th run.
Between the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 election and the return to Studio 8H after several episodes from the previous season were filmed remotely, “SNL” writers had plenty of real-world material to use for satire.
“The Queen’s Gambit” star Anya Taylor-Joy hosted the last episode with Lil Nas X as the musical guest but before they made their appearances, one thing had to be established: “This year was crazy,” Aidy Bryant said.
Bowen Yang recalled how they finished the previous season doing “weird” “SNL at Home” shows and kicked off the most recent season with “terrifying” episodes in 30 Rock.
“Everyone else was fleeing New York but (executive producer) Lorne Michaels was like ‘We should go back for comedy,’ ” Ego Nwodim said.
The season was described as both a “perfect environment” for comedy and “unusual circumstances” for laughs.
Kyle Mooney sarcastically asked: “Was every sketch perfect? Yeah, pretty much, we crushed it. Every sketch was a 10.”
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Rock made a surprise cameo to take a look back on Season 46, noting he opened the season as host.
“This is how messed up the world was when I hosted,” Rock said. “I wanted Kanye (West) to be the musical guest and he couldn’t do it because he was running for president.”
Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson offered a more serious note, acknowledging the lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic, including the show’s music producer Hal Willner, who died in April 2020 from complications of COVID-19.
“This was the year we realized we’re more than just a cast,” McKinnon said, holding back tears. “We’re a family.”
“Thank you for staying with us through an election, an insurrection and an objection that there was an insurrection,” said Strong.
“It was one wild ride, baby,” McKinnon added.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘SNL’ finale: Pete Davidson, Chris Rock say goodbye to pandemic season