Published May 21, 2017Vanessa Bayer and Bobby Moynihan made their final appearances as strong, utility cast members, as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had another strong turn as host and Katy Perry transformed the stage, performing two new songs. Here's everything that happened on the 42nd season finale of Saturday Night Live.
The Cold Open
Riffing on their tribute to Hillary Clinton's election loss and Leonard Cohen's death, which occurred within days of each other last November, SNL assembled their version of Donald Trump's regime (including special guest Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka) to sing Cohen's "Hallelujah." The original iteration was meant to be a balm after the shocking election; this one aimed to be a wry, if not premature, victory lap, as Trump's reign as president seems to finally be unraveling.
Celebrating his entry into the SNL host "Five-Timers Club," the Rock was joined by fellow members Alec Baldwin and Tom Hanks. Johnson played up rumours that he's been considering a run for president with a prolonged bit announcing a joint bid with Hanks that was amusing and entirely plausible.
Cartier Fidget Spinner
This was a good jab at the fidget spinner craze and how it's given people an excuse to play a weird game in public under the auspices that it's a coping medical device. Vanessa Bayer plays a rich girl asshole whose beleaguered boyfriend (Beck Bennett) finds her public behaviour insufferable. Staged as an engagement ring ad, this hit all the right notes.
Johnson and Moynihan play wrestling rivals talking smack about each other before a bout. While Moynihan's character offers boilerplate disses, Johnson's barbs are hilariously specific, psychologically damaging, and absurdly humiliating. A lot rested on Moynihan's hangdog shock, as each new revelation about his personal life came thundering out of Johnson.
New $ Crew
A funny remote making fun of hip-hop tracks with too many features, this clip featured basically everyone in the cast playing a rapper or singer, plus the return of Tom Hanks's David S. Pumpkins (Pimpkins). That last stunt really was the highlight.
Ever find it weird that superheroes are able to design their own elaborate costumes? This sketch explored that notion with Johnson playing a new vigilante named Scorpio. While he tries to convey his mission to female friends, they're far more impressed with his tailoring and suit. Somewhat inside, this was funny enough to transcend comic culture.
Jurassic Park Ride
Cecily Strong's somewhat broken British party girl Gemma returned, this time with her pet pig Pipsqueak, for a silly sketch set on an amusement park ride. Paired as the date of whomever happens to be hosting, Gemma always encounters a couple played by Kenan Thompson and Vanessa Bayer, with the latter always coming across as something of a pill who is insulted and put upon. This was no exception to the rule, though Bayer, in her last turn as a cast member, also ended up getting soaked by water throughout most of the bit.
An erectile dysfunction medication ad takes a dark turn when it becomes clear it's not certified and its side effects are disturbing and possibly deadly. Giant Dwayne Johnson was custom-made to play a man enduring the angry, roid-y aftermath of taking these pills.
In a nod to Madonna's inclusion of LGBTQ dancers in some of her most high-profile television appearances, Perry launched into the colourful, adamant new single, "Swish Swish." With its threats, put-downs and "Swish swish bish" chorus, people are gonna suggest this song is about Taylor Swift so hard; fashion runway walks in the background made it seem like even more of a battle cry. She returned with Migos and a dinner table to writhe on, on her back, hammering home the sensual overtones of "Bon Appétit," which was overtly about oral sex.
"I know I said this last week," Colin Jost said, "But this week was crazy." With that, he and Michael Che ran through a variety of Trump weirdness, offering solid jokes about his horrendous gaffes and treasonous behaviour. Of his current diplomatic trip to the Middle East, Jost said, "Trump giving a speech on Islam in Saudi Arabia is like Mike Pence giving a toast at a gay wedding." Vanessa Bayer's amazing recent WU character, Dawn Lazarus, returned to offer nervous, garbled weather reports and, with this serving as his final episode, Bobby Moynihan conjured Drunk Uncle for one last time. Funny, his backwards, racist, xenophobic view of America once seemed so satirically quaint. How sad.
Murder by Numbers
A 1948 film shoot is disrupted by farts. Bayer and Johnson play actors trying to get through a scene but unfortunately, Bayer's legendary actress cannot stop cutting loud, long, wet farts. Though they corpsed a bit, somehow the pair got through this silly thing.
International Mad Scientist Society
A gathering of mad scientists is arranged to coronate the most evil invention of the year but it's upended by a creepily unassuming guy (Johnson) who presents a child molesting robot. The uncomfortable premise rolls out with expert awkwardness before, weirdly, turning into a promo for White Castle.
A bartender played by Beck Bennett insists on playing wingman to Johnson's shy, single guy at a bar. While he claims to be speaking to women on Johnson's behalf, it turns out he's actually trying to impose himself into the equation as well. Just a bit of oblivious sleaze that the slick-looking Bennett was built to subvert.
Millwood High Class of 2017
When a longstanding cast member plans to leave SNL, they often appear in a sketch that invokes the notion of "graduation." And so, with Bobby Moynihan — one of the show's most beloved character actors — leaving after this season, the show engineered a slight, almost nothing bit, where he's among a group of high school students performing in a talent show on their last day of class. Not funny really but poignant if you follow the show and have a soft spot for Bobby — versatile, physical and very funny scene-stealer.
The Rock thanked various guest stars for stopping by but left the cast to quietly acknowledge the departure of Moynihan and Bayer. The former grinned; the latter could be seen weeping.
Pre-order Katy Perry's new album Witness here.