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Kate McKinnon bade farewell to her decade-long Saturday Night Live tenure this past weekend by reprising the fan favorite role of of Ms. Rafferty, the uncouth and cigarette-smoking alien abductee who has popped up several times over the years alongside various celebrity hosts, including Ryan Gosling who famously couldn't hold in his giggles. Except this time, Rafferty didn't just recount a NSFW close encounter about extra-terrestrials — she left on a spaceship with them.
"Well, Earth...I love ya. Thanks for letting me stay awhile," a clearly emotional McKinnon announced to thunderous applause at the conclusion of the eight-minute cold open, which also featured Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Mikey Day, and first-time host Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll). She closed out with the obligatory: "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" While the skit was entitled "Final Encounter," we wouldn't be surprised if Rafferty returns in the near future when McKinnon is almost certainly invited back as a host in the future.
Watch the full cold open below:
McKinnon is one of four longstanding cast members who decided to exit SNL after its 47th season. She's joined by Aidy Bryant (2012), Kyle Mooney (2013), and Pete Davidson (2014). "I never imagined this would be my life," Davidson said during the Weekend Update portion of the finale. "Look at me when I started here. Back then, I was just a skinny kid and no one knew what race I was. And now, everyone knows I'm white because I became hugely successful while barely showing up to work. And look at me now, I'm aging like an old banana."
When asked by Colin Jost if the news about his leaving was true, the comedian replied: "Lorne [Michaels] accidentally gifted me a sock, so I'm free" (a reference to the rules of House Elves in the Harry Potter universe). Adopting a more serious attitude by the end, he said: "Thank you to 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'll last a lifetime."
Check it out:
Lyonne touted her strong ties to the nearly 50-year-old show in her opening monologue by reminding the audience that she co-created Russian Doll (whose second season is now streaming on Netflix) with former SNL cast member, Amy Poehler. That little name-drop was followed by a surprise appearance from two more ex-members of the cast — Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen — who did impressions of Lyonne's trademark raspy New York voice.
The host got the last laugh, however, by addressing her previous romantic involvement with Armisen. "You know, Freddy and I, we dated for seven years," Lyonne remarked. "We're the only couple who had a sex tape nobody wanted to buy!"
The Season 47 finale of Saturday Night Live is now streaming on Peacock.