SNL has had an up-and-down season — some would say an up-and-down decade, but everyone has their own favorite period in SNL history. But one thing the show "has gotten really good at over the past decade is saying farewell to their own," says Logan Nicklaus at Rolling Stone. Saturday night was no exception.
The farewell sketch for Hader, after eight seasons on Saturday Night Live, featured his beloved New York City correspondent character, Stefon. (Watch above.) The segment deals with Stefon's apparently requited feelings for Weekend Update host Seth Meyers, who is also leaving the show next year to take over Jimmy Fallon's Late Night.
The sketch "wasn't the funniest Stefon appearance, but the feel-good quotient was high," says Ben Yakas at Gothamist. And it features a bunch of surprise guests, including "dozens of past characters from Stefon sketches." (It might take a couple of watches to pick them all out.) Now New York City tourists will have to discover their own bizarro nightclubs — "well... until Stefon inevitably returns to say goodbye to Seth Meyers before he leaves at the end of the year," Yakas predicts.
The "stirring farewell" to Stefon/Hader was a definite high point of the show, says Kristi Turnquist at The Oregonian. Still, "more low-key, but more affecting because of it, was the bit at the end of the show where Armisen, as Ian Rubbish, and his band, the Bizzaros (Hader, Jason Sudeikis, and Taran Killam) came on to do a song." (Watch below.) In character as the Margaret Thatcher–loving British punk rocker Rubbish, Armisen pulls off a surprisingly upbeat song — joined by some actual royalty of the genre: Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., power couple Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, and of course Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein, Armisen's Portlandia co-star.
"Armisen isn't one to reach for sentiment," says The Oregonian's Turnquist, "but it was sweet when he sang the last lines, 'It's been all right, I've had a lovely night, with you.'"
As a bonus, here's Armisen playing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad playing Affleck in the Iranian leader's remake of Argo, Bengo F— Yourself. Enjoy: