There are so many talking points for SNL’s 38th season finale that I hardly know where to begin! Maybe it’ll help to organize them as a list:
1. Tonight marks Ben Affleck’s fifth time hosting Saturday Night Live, which grants him membership to SNL’s storied Five-Timers Club. Usually, a moment like this would occasion a big, cameo-stuffed sketch featuring veteran hosts like Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. But SNL just gave us a cameo-stuffed Five Timer’s Club sketch when Justin Timberlake hosted in March – and it’s way too soon to repeat that same conceit. So how will the show acknowledge Affleck’s milestone? Maybe Timberlake will show up to induct him?
2. As you may already know, Stefon’s very first SNL appearance wasn’t a Weekend Update visit. It was this little-remembered sketch from the last time Affleck hosted the show in 2008, which casts Bill Hader and the host as brothers pitching a movie together. (According to the clip, Stefon’s last name is Zolesky – who knew?) This has to mean that Stefon and Affleck’s David are going to appear together again tonight, right?
3. Speaking of Stefon: It’s Bill Hader’s last show! Which of his beloved characters/impressions (James Carville, Al Pacino, Herb Welch) will show up again – and will he get a goodbye as sweet as Kristen Wiig’s Rolling Stones-assisted sendoff?
4. Hader’s not the only one leaving SNL. Fred Armisen is reportedly done with the show, and Jason Sudeikis will likely exit as well after tonight. Will they each get their own individual send-offs? Which of Armisen’s worst recurring characters (Manuel Ortiz, Regine, Rodger Brush) will we have to tolerate because he’s on his way out?
5. And then there’s Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night heir apparent. He’s not actually departing SNL until this winter – but clearly, the show has to acknowledge the news of its head writer’s new gig. Could Fallon stop by to give Meyers his blessing, or to come back to the Weekend Update desk for old time’s sake?
6. Kanye West, too, will be an SNL five-timer as of tonight, albeit only as a musical guest. I was really looking forward to seeing Jay Pharoah impersonate Kanye while standing next to Kanye… but unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the rapper will appear in any sketches tonight. Why? Because here’s one of the things he said during a long rant at an Upfront presentation this week: “Hell nah, I ain’t doing no motherf—ing SNL skits; this my goddamn life. This ain’t no motherf—ing joke!”
7. Then again, it looks like Beyoncé might be pregnant again – so that at least should be good for a Pharoah as Jay-Z sketch, right?
8. Hey, why doesn’t Jay Pharoah get more screen time?
Ponder these questions before, after, and during tonight’s show – and I’ll be back in the morning with a full recap.
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