New York’s hottest club is closed: Bill Hader and Fred Armisen leave SNL

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This past weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” was filled with many emotions: the usual  laughter, sadness and confusion as to why Ben Affleck depended so much on the teleprompter.

Starting from his opening monologue, Affleck’s introduction into the “Five-Timer Club” was jokingly underplayed with Bobby Moynihan wearing a “5” t-shirt as the only marker for the occasion, a stark contrast to Justin Timberlake’s grand affair back in March.

The monologue set the stage for the rest of the show, a lackluster performance from Affleck. He was consistently tripping over words, a sure sign he was struggling to read his lines. He’s a fine actor, but live performances are not his forte.

Affleck’s unexciting performance was, however, appropriate for the occasion: the night was about Bill Hader’s and Fred Armisen’s final night on “SNL.”

It was announced last week that Hader would be putting his eight-year run on the show to an end, so the expectations were high for his final episode _㐠the anticipation wasn’t higher than in “Weekend Update.”

Seth Meyers, another soon-to-be departed cast member in the second half of the season next year when he takes over Jimmy Fallon’s spot on “Late Night,” was joined by former cast member and “Weekend Update” host Amy Poehler for the sketch. They brought back their “Really?” bit before the moment everyone was waiting for: a guide to New York this summer by Stefon.

His advice ended early, after Meyers did his standard ridicule of Stefon for telling tourists to attend dubious clubs. Stefon runs out, telling Meyers he’s getting married for someone who loves him for him. As Meyers find out as he busts into the church “Graduate” style, Stefon’s beau is Anderson Cooper and every character Stefon has ever mentioned in his “Weekend Update” appearances brilliantly attends their wedding.

It had human traffic cones, Furkels, DJ Baby Bok Choi … and that thing where Stefon and Meyers run back onto the “Weekend Update” stage and are greeted by all of the other “Weekend Update” recurring characters as the two embraced. They, as colleagues and friends (not their characters), exchanged an “I love you” for one of the most heart-warming moments that’s taken place on “SNL” in a long time.

Did I start crying? Maybe.

Fred Armisen’s departure was shrouded in a bit more secrecy; his departure was only rumored last week. Once the show began, it was obvious that this would be Armisen’s last show.

The final sketch of the night brought Armisen’s character of Ian Rubish to the stage for a final time, singing “Lovely Day” as a final farewell for both Armisen and Hader. Armisen’s guitar strap had “TY LM I<3U” written upon it, a likely shout-out to “SNL” creator, meaning “thank you Lorne Michaels I love you.”

The stage filled with a slew of rock stars from Aimee Mann and spouse Michael Penn, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, The Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones, Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis and Armisen’s “Portlandia” cohort Carrie Brownstein.

The final episode ended season 38 on a high note, the swan songs for both Armisen and Hader were pointed and well done, but the cast is left slim for next season. With Kristen Wiig, Abby Elliot and Andy Samberg leaving last season, Meyers’ departure mid-season next year and Jason Sudekis’ unsure status, “SNL” will likely be on uneasy ground for the next couple of seasons as they rebuild a solid cast.

Newer cast members Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong are the standouts of this season’s “Featured Players.” Along with Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer, they are likely to pave the way for the next couple of years. Can they fill the void of all of the departed cast members? We’ll have to wait for September to find out.