Saturday Night Live’s season finale was a surprise

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1767 -- Pictured: (l-r) Leslie Jones, Colin Jost during "Weekend Update" on May 18, 2019 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 1767 -- Pictured: (l-r) Leslie Jones, Colin Jost during "Weekend Update" on May 18, 2019 -- (Photo by: Will Heath/NBC) /

Paul Rudd hosted the season 44 finale of Saturday Night Live that went against expectations.

Season 44 of Saturday Night Live came to an end over the weekend. Another 21 episodes are in the book. Overall it was a solid episode elevated by host Paul Rudd but it did come as a bit of a surprise.

Last Night On’s prediction for the episode didn’t exactly come true. It wasn’t the best episode of the season. Again, it wasn’t a poor performance by Rudd or the cast. But it didn’t feel like a season finale in the same way Saturday Night Live fans are used to seeing.

The finales have been known to bring out a number of celebrity cameos and returning alumni. Instead, DJ Khaled had more friends on stage with him than Paul Rudd did. This went against expectations and ultimately derailed the entire premise of our episode preview.

We did get to see Alec Baldwin and Robert De Niro in the cold open once again. And a pre-taped sketch from Pete Davidson featured Game of Thrones actor Jacob Anderson as well as Grace and Frankie stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. But those pale in comparison to the special appearances from recent SNL finale history.

Let’s look at the past three finales prior to Rudd’s episode. We’ll give you the host and then a list of cameos from that episode

Tina Fey (Season 43)

  • Alec Baldwin
  • Robert De Niro
  • Ben Stiller
  • Fred Armisen
  • Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Donald Glover
  • Anne Hathaway
  • Jerry Seinfeld
  • Tracy Morgan
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • John Goodman

Dwayne Johnson (Season 42)

  • Alec Baldwin
  • Scarlett Johansson
  • Tom Hanks

Fred Armisen (Season 41)

  • Larry David
  • Andy Samberg
  • Maya Rudolph
  • Jason Sudeikis
  • Carrie Brownstein

Dwayne Johnson may not have had the same support as Tina Fey and Fred Armisen. But you could argue that the star power and popularity of Tom Hanks and Scarlett Johansson compensates for that. It certainly outranks what fans saw on Rudd’s episode.

It is possible that there just wasn’t a justifiable way for anyone special to show up this week. It could also be that the writers wanted the attention to stay strictly on this season’s cast. Saturday Night Live has been pretty heavy on cameos already this year.

In addition to Baldwin and De Niro, fans saw Matt Damon, cast members from The Office, Bill Hader, and Steve Martin show up unannounced. So for the finale, the attention stayed on performers like Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon, and Beck Bennett.

The cast responded well to having all eyes on them. Strong especially stood out in this episode. She has to be Last Night On’s pick for the season MVP. She was consistently among the best aspects of her sketches and her work on “Weekend Update” was always a highlight.

Leslie Jones also had some big moments on the show. In addition to another awkwardly hilarious pre-taped bit with Kyle Mooney, she made headlines on “Weekend Update.” Her reaction to legislation on abortion in Alabama reminded fans that Jones is at her best when being herself and speaking directly to the camera.

So in the end, it may not have been the finale fans expected or had hoped to see. But the again, that was a common theme this weekend all over television.

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What did you think of the Saturday Night Live season 44 finale? Let us know in the comments below. SNL may not be returning until the fall but that doesn’t mean Last Night On won’t leave you hanging. We’ll have a full recap of the season’s best sketches and continue to update you with any news that breaks live from New York.