A night of swan songs on ‘SNL’

The New York TimesMay 19, 2013 

As Stefon, the city correspondent of “Weekend Update,” used to say of a favorite New York nightspot: This club has everything.

And, in similar over-the-top fashion, “Saturday Night Live” pulled out all the stops in its season finale to say goodbye to Bill Hader, who played Stefon and numerous other characters on the series, while another star-studded sketch all but confirmed that his fellow cast member Fred Armisen would be leaving the show as well.

Hader, an eight-year veteran of “Saturday Night Live” who announced his departure last week, reprised the role of Stefon in a “Weekend Update” segment on Saturday. After an apparent tiff with the “Weekend Update” anchor, Seth Meyers (who also had one foot out the door), Stefon fled to a church where he prepared to marry Anderson Cooper, surrounded by some of his favorite night-life characters.

But Meyers broke up this wedding, a la “The Graduate,” and returned Stefon to the “Weekend Update” stage, where the two shared a final embrace.

Armisen, who has been on “Saturday Night Live” for 11 years, revisited his punk-rock star Ian Rubbish for the final sketch of the night. Though Armisen has not announced his plans for next season, he gathered onstage with some of his real-life rock ’n’ roll pals, including his “Portlandia” co-star, Carrie Brownstein, and musicians like Steve Jones, Aimee Mann and Kim Gordon, to sing what sounded like a swan song: “It’s been all right,” the lyrics went. “I’ve had a lovely night with you.”

(Perhaps another clue to Armisen’s intentions appeared in a coded message of thanks written on his guitar strap, possibly directed at Lorne Michaels, the executive producer of “Saturday Night Live.”)

As for you, Jason Sudeikis, maybe we’ll still see you in the fall?

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