Season 46 Finale of ‘Saturday Night Live’ Was a Tearful, Yet Joyous Sendoff


The cast of SNL’s Season 46 pose during the opening of the season finale. (Courtesy NBC YouTube)

By Makena Reynolds, Arts Writer


NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” has been a saving grace during a year of unpredictability, especially after months of social distancing and separation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people got to look forward to inviting the cast of SNL into their living rooms every weekend for a moment of laughter and relief. Season 46 then became a time capsule for the pandemic and the 2020 presidential election. In the season finale, SNL used their platform to discuss social issues in the only way they know how: through comedy. 

“Here’s Your Host!”

Anya Taylor-Joy was a great choice for hosting the season finale. Her monologue included references to her show “The Queen’s Gambit” where she exposed the secret to being a skilled chess player. The episode’s sketches served her serious acting chops while also giving her the platform to flex her comedic timing. 

Musical guest Lil Nas X performed his hit songs “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” and “Sun Goes Down” while also making an appearance in the sketch, “It’s Pride Again.” He went to Twitter after performing “Montero” to reveal that he ripped his pants mid-song. Lil Nas X was in light spirits about the whole thing — he even retweeted a still of the clip for the song “Ripped Pants” from “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

Episode Highlights

This finale left no topic untouched. In “College Panel,” the cast members tactfully yet hilariously displayed the reality of interviews for actors in marginalized groups. The moderators (Taylor-Joy and Bryant) question Max (Pete Davidson) with easy-going questions, but then directs hard-hitting, controversial and sometimes offensive questions to the non-cisgender, straight, white, male cast members. This sketch aids in breaking down the expectation that a woman, person of color or member of the LGBTQ community is expected to speak on behalf of an entire group of people, making the interviewers the butt of the joke.

On the recurring “Weekend Update” segment, hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost stuck to their tradition of writing jokes for each other — the gimmick is that the jokes are read for the first time on air. The applauded segment was a shared moment where the audience was no longer laughing at the actors, but with them as Jost and Che broke one another into laughter.

The Final Cold Open of the Season

The sketch that left SNL viewers questioning the fate of Season 47 was the cold open. Traditionally, before the host’s monologue, there is an introductory sketch that takes on a current event from the week, but this sketch was like a love letter from the cast of SNL, reminiscing on the trials the pandemic brought. Opening with cast members Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson holding hands, fans speculated whether this tearful send-off meant that this was their final episode. There has been no formal announcement whether these rumors are true. However, Thompson, the longest-running cast member to date, said on Conan “I don’t know if I’ll ever give that job up, ya know?”

The cold open made many of the cast members emotional, most notably McKinnon who choked up when she said, “This is the year we realized that we’re more than just a cast, we’re family.” The cast also acknowledged Hal Willner, a music producer on the show that passed from complications due to COVID-19 last year.


Thinking about SNL’s Season 47 is a tad bittersweet for me because there is the chance that some of my favorite cast members will not be returning — I am the proud owner of a Kate McKinnon SNL phone case. Regardless, I cannot wait to invite SNL back into my living room all over again next season. 

You can watch the full episode and Season 46 on Hulu or SNL’s Youtube channel


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