There are many different ways to leave “Saturday Night Live.” Some castmembers get dumped after a few episodes and are never heard from again and others have long, productive runs and graduate to movies. But most just kind of disappear and are replaced by someone younger, prettier, more versatile or just newer when the next season rolls around.
Kristen Wiig was never a typical “SNL”er. On a show that has minted a galaxy of stars, Wiig always had a little something extra, and when it came time for her final curtain call you could tell. During Saturday night’s season finale, Wiig was given a rare chance to say goodbye to the show that helped make her a TV and movie star when she, literally, danced her last dance with the people who helped her achieve her dreams.
In the episode hosted by Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, the “Bridesmaids” star appeared in a mock graduation sketch in which she got to toss aside her cap and gown and make the transition to her new life. With Jagger playing a school principal praising one of his favorite students in the night’s final sketch, the rock icon smarmily said, “I’d like to take a moment to say goodbye to one particular student who is leaving this summer to become a nun. Kristen?”
Wiig, trying to hold back the waterworks, stood by Jagger as he joked, “You meant quite a lot to us over the past seven years. She got held back. So our music department got together and prepared a song to say goodbye. This one’s for you.”
Wiig then tore off her cap and gown to reveal a miniskirt and top combo and did a series of Victorian slow dances and hand jives with her castmates as Arcade Fire performed the Stones’ “She’s a Rainbow” and “Ruby Tuesday.” Andy Samberg almost caused a wardrobe malfunction when he picked Wiig up and spun her around after the actress had taken turns with pals Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, Kenan Thompson, Fred Armisen, Bobby Moynihan, Jenny Slate, and Jason Sudeikis. The biggest ovation came when she went cheek-to-cheek with show founder Lorne Michaels.
On the line, “still I’m gonna miss you” from the Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday,” Wiig pointed to the crowd as old pals Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch boogied one more time on the show with their friend. NBC has not confirmed that Wiig is leaving the show, but the last waltz seemed like a fitting end to a memorable run in which she created a host of iconic characters. From mischievous Gilly, to crude baby-armed crooner Dooneese Maharelle, enthusiastic Target Lady, and improvisational singer Kat, as well as great impression of Kris Jenner, Bjö, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Kathy Lee Gifford, Wiig left her mark on the show.
Wiig first hinted at her departure in April, which soon led to rumors that both Andy Samberg and Jason Sudeikis would also be on their way out the door. When Michaels spoke to reporters earlier this month, he teased that there would be some cast changes in the coming season of the show.
The actress, who also co-wrote “Bridesmaids,” has six other films in various stages of development, including the “Imogene” with Darren Criss and a remake of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” with Ben Stiller and Sean Penn.
While these other two departures have yet to be hinted at any big way, in a “Lazy Sunday” short, Samberg did say one line that has many fans wondering if it was his way of saying goodbye.
“On these New York streets I hone my fake rap penmanship / That’s how it began, and that’s how I’m-a finish it,” he rapped, perhaps commenting that this could be the last lazy Sunday he spends on the show.