All good things must come to an end, and on Saturday Night Live's May 18 season finale, that meant Fred Armisen's and Bill Hader's stints on the NBC comedy sketch show. The actors — two of the series' best and brightest stars — said an emotional farewell to Rockefeller Center's Studio 8H in an episode that was more significant for the tears it wrought than for the laughs it produced.
Hader, 34 — who announced the end of his eight-year run on Tuesday, May 14 — got the goodbyes started early, with a final skit featuring his beloved "Weekend Update" character Stefon. The sketch found the flamboyant New York City "nightlife correspondent" abandoning anchor Seth Meyers to marry Anderson Cooper – only to have Meyers interrupt the nuptials, a la The Graduate, for one last Weekend Update sign-off with his pal.
Armisen, meanwhile, has yet to officially announce his departure, but the episode's closing sketch — featuring the 11-year SNL veteran reprising his role as punk-rock star Ian Rubbish — all but confirmed that he, too, was leaving the show. Joined by guest stars including Aimee Mann, Steve Jones, and Kim Gordon, as well as Hader and Jason Sudeikis, the 46-year-old actor sung what sounded like a tribute to his time on the series.
"It's been all right," he crooned. "I've had a lovely night with you."
Following the performance, Hader and Armisen joined the rest of the cast onstage for the traditional end-of-the-night goodbyes. Both stood toward the front, their arms wrapped tightly around one another, as host Ben Affleck wrapped up the episode.
Speaking about his exit in an interview with the New York Times, Hader said he struggled at first with the idea of letting go. "It was a hard decision, but it has to happen at some point," he said. "It got to a point where I said, 'Maybe it's just time to go.'"
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