While the show has not formally acknowledged the exit of the four cast members, some openly said goodbye while others featured in skits with themes of departure during Saturday’s finale, hosted by actress Natasha Lyonne and featuring the band Japanese Breakfast. NBCUniversal could not immediately be reached for comment early Sunday.
In the cold open, McKinnon played one of her many recurring characters, alien abductee Colleen Rafferty, who shared wildly descriptive details of her experience with Pentagon intelligence officials.
Toward the end of the skit, Colleen volunteered to leave Earth with a group of aliens as part of a deal with the government to secure extraterrestrial technology.
“Well, Earth. I love you. Thanks for letting me stay awhile,” an emotional McKinnon said while stepping through a door made to look like the entrance of a spaceship.
“Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night,” she added.
Davidson, playing himself, appeared on the “Weekend Update” segment and spoke openly of his departure and affection for the show.
After “Update” co-anchor Colin Jost asked him, “Are you officially leaving?” Davidson, 28, replied, “Yeah, man, Lorne accidentally gifted me a sock, so I’m free” — a reference to the character of Dobby in “Harry Potter,” an elf who is freed by his wizard masters when he is unexpectedly handed a sock.
“I appreciate SNL always having my back and allowing me to work on myself and grow,” an emotional Davidson said.
Davidson, who in 2017 shared that he had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, thanked Michaels “for never giving up on me or judging me even when everyone else was, and believing in me and allowing me to have a place that I can call home with memories that will last a lifetime.”
In an Instagram post shared by “Saturday Night Live” writer Dave Sirus, Davidson said he was “so glad” to have shared his final sketch with the audience.
“I figured since I’m a stand up I’ll just try my stand up and personal bits on Weekend Update as myself and I’m so glad I did,” said the Instagram post, which was signed by Davidson, who is not on the social media platform. “I got to share so much with this audience and literally grow up in front of your eyes.”
The post featured a video of Davidson from eight years ago in which the comedian said he “had just gotten back from doing my very first update and sketch.”
“It’s crazy to think that today I’ll be doing my last one,” he added.
Bryant also appeared on “Weekend Update,” reprising her tole as a Trend Forecaster with fellow cast member Bowen Yang and “Update” co-anchor Michael Che.
In the section of the skit in which the comedians predict what will be in or out in the future, Bryant, who has been on the show for a decade, says, “In: 10 nice years.”
Yang says, “In: a friend I couldn’t have done this without.”
During Saturday’s finale, he played a concerned shareholder in a remake of the 1981 skit “9:15 to 5:10” — which ended with Mooney and former SNL cast member Fred Armisen jumping out of the window of a high-rise building.