'SNL' season finale teases Maya Rudolph's new show

'SNL' season finale teases Maya Rudolph's new show
In the skit, Jay Pharoah's Jay Z and Sasheer Zamata's Solange are joined by Maya Rudolph's Beyoncé and Keenan Thompson as the unnamed bodyguard in the video. (NBC)

The season finale of “SNL” is frequently a giddily messy cavalcade of guest stars, and last night’s episode, hosted by Andy Samberg, was no different. Between Martin Short, Paul Rudd, 2 Chainz, Lil Jon, Pharrell Williams and basically the entire cast of Season 37 of the show (whither Abby Elliott?), it was astounding that any of the current cast members had lines to say.

If the night belonged to any one particular special guest, however, it was

Maya Rudolph

, who is always a welcome face on the show but in this instance was there to serve as a friendly reminder of her forthcoming


variety show, debuting Monday night (with, coincidentally, many of the special guests who were on the “SNL” season finale!). Rudolph first appeared in the cold open, resurrecting her Beyoncé impression in a sketch where

Solange Knowles

and Jay Z address the video of them fighting. Rudolph’s Beyoncé is a bit of an impressionistic time machine, in that the singer’s fame has grown exponentially since Rudolph basically introduced her many years ago as Prince’s sidekick. While the impression hasn't necessarily proven to be timeless, it’s become more fun to take the mickey out of Bey as she’s gotten more popular. Rudolph also appeared in an epic germ-sharing session as the cast revived the cringeworthy

sketch (you know, the one about the family that kisses — and more — a lot.) In this particular scenario the smooching was roughly tied to current events, in that a gay couple stand up for the right for same-sex lovers to kiss on TV (like football player Michael Sam), but really, the point of the sketch was to have

Kristen Wiig


Bill Hader

, Paul Rudd and Maya Rudolph basically try their hardest to give Kate McKinnon a cold. It seems unlikely that the sketch was meant to drive home a serious point about the equality of love, but if it was, it was slightly undercut by

Fred Armisen

and the other cast members breaking openly several times during the scene.


Samberg and his Lonely Island crew brought two Digital Shorts to the episode, one about an electronic dance music DJ who holds way too much influence over his fans just because of his ability to access a clearly labeled "BASS" button. Another, featured a cameo from — guess who? — Rudolph as Oprah in a song about men who brazenly love and leave women, although instead of sleeping with their conquests, the men just offer hugs.

Mix all that in with Samberg’s

Nicolas Cage

impression, a sketch about

, and a resurrection of the

, and you had the type of loose, silly episode that seemed appropriate for the ever-game Samberg. In contrast, meanwhile, were the two musical performances of

, whose

, frizzy gray hair and delicate physicality made her look like the prettiest, most talented, creepy broken doll ever to live inside an astronomical clock. Tightly coordinated and deadpan yet displaying her talent and whimsy, her musical performances both juxtaposed with yet complemented the show’s season finale.