NEW YORK — 30 Rock is getting a new look.
The season finale of “Saturday Night Live” this week was more somber than expected as the late-night sketch show bid farewell to Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson and Kyle Mooney after all four announced that they will not be returning next season.
McKinnon peaced out first in the cold open as her “Close Encounters” character, the foul-mouthed Ms. Rafferty, left Earth for good on an alien spaceship after her third abduction.
“Well, Earth, I love you. Thanks for letting me stay awhile,” the teary actress said in character.
Davidson and Bryant both made their last showings on the Weekend Update, as Bryant reprised her role as a flamboyant trend forecaster, alongside Bowen Yang, during which Yang and Update co-anchor Michael Che kissed her goodbye and sent her on her way with a bouquet of flowers.
Davidson struck a more serious tone behind the anchor desk where he first made a name for himself.
“I never imagined this would be my life,” the Staten Island native said. “Back then, I was just a skinny kid that no one knew which race I was. And now everyone knows I’m white because I became hugely successful while barely showing up to work. Look at me now, I’m aging like an old banana.”
Looking back on his first audition, Davidson revealed that “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels didn’t think he was right for the show, but decided to “screw this up together.”
“And that’s exactly what we did. And that’s why people who don’t think I deserve this job shouldn’t hate me since we have so much in common. Like, if anything I should be inspire hope that literally anyone could be on ‘Saturday Night Live,’” he said.
“I appreciate ‘Saturday Night Live’ always having my back. Thank you, Lorne, for never giving up on me or judging me, even when everyone else was and for believing in me and allowing me to have a place that I could call home, with memories that will last a lifetime. So thank you, guys.”
Mooney did not get a proper chance to say goodbye, but ended his tenure in a sketch with surprise guest Fred Armisen (the ex-boyfriend of host Natasha Lyonne) as the pair jumped out of a window in a “9 to 5″ parody.
Although the final curtain call early Sunday morning did not explicitly acknowledge the departing cast members, the episode was a surprisingly fond walk down memory lane after years of refusing to give a victory lap to the comedians on their way out the door.
McKinnon and Bryant both joined “SNL” in 2012, making them some of the most veteran players in the company. For her work, McKinnon has won two Emmys and survived near constant rumors about her exit for years. She recently starred in Peacock’s scripted “Tiger King” series, “Joe vs. Carole,” in which she played Carole Baskin.
Bryant starred for three years in the Michaels-produced “Shrill.”
Davidson, meanwhile, has possibly the busiest upcoming scheduling, co-creating and starring in “Bupkis,” a Peacock series based on his own life. Edie Falco plays his mother. He’s also bound to show up one day on “The Kardashians” with girlfriend Kim Kardashian.
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