May 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM ET
The surprising finale of “Saturday Night Live” was led by Mick Jagger as a lively host, who called himself out during skits then jammed like a rock star between them.
In addition to Jagger, cast member Kristen Wiig took center stage. Wiig, along with Jason Sudeikis and Andy Samberg, is reportedly leaving after this season.
"Mad Men" star Jon Hamm popped in for a cameo on a "Lawrence Welk Show" sketch, playing a swooning Italian Casanova who is forced to ward off Wiig’s far-from-enticing local maiden. After stalking Hamm for his “cannoli” in the beginning scene, the actress went on to replay some of her more notable characters throughout the show, and made appearances in nearly every skit of the night.
TV critic Ryan McGee tweeted after the bit, “Oh God. This sketch totally means Wiig is leaving after tonight. #SNL.”
“So far this looks like the Kristen Wiig goodbye tour. #SNL,” wrote viewer Yvette.
Jagger earned his comic stripes primarily by mocking himself throughout the show. He began with a monologue answering questions about himself, including one on the status of his ongoing quest for “satisfaction.”
“Bravo, it’s a clever question,” joked the rocker. “It’s a trick question though because if I say no, they’d be like, “What’s your problem, man? Exactly what more do you need?” And if I say yes, then I can’t sing the song anymore.”
He also addressed his tastes in current music with a surprising nomination.
“Journalists always ask me, ‘Mick, who’s your favorite new group today?’" the singer said. "Well, obviously I love the Foo Fighters and I love Arcade Fire, but you know who really gets me excited these days? It’s the freecreditreport.com band. They’re my current favorite."
He also mentioned restaurant franchise Ruby Tuesday. “They asked me if I would come along to their grand openings and sing the theme song, 'Ruby Tuesday,' for $1,000 and a lifetime supply of jalapeno poppers," Jagger joked. "I passed up on that offer, and not a day goes by that I don’t regret that.”
The rocker also challenged his own persona by playing a stiff insurance agent out with his colleagues for karaoke night at a dive bar. Refusing to take the microphone, a reserved Jagger explained, “Not me, I’m way too nervous. I could never get up on a stage in front of people like this. I just don’t have that confidence.”
He was later upstaged by Fred Armisen and Bobby Moynihan doing their best versions of the Stones’ classics.
And in perhaps his most lauded impersonation of the night, Jagger took on Steven Tyler as host of the parodied “So You Think You Can Dance at an Outdoor Music Festival,” also mocking the Aerosmith singer’s Burger King endorsement with a jab at his chicken ad. And fans seemed to respond.
Mark Lorando, features editor of the Times–Picayune in New Orleans, tweeted, “Mick Jagger proving to be one of the all-time great Saturday Night Live host-musical guests ... instant #SNL classic!”
Concluding his run of digital shorts, Samberg chose “Lazy Sunday 2” for the finale, giving a shout-out to Jay-Z, the Beastie Boys, and “Sister Act” in a hip-hop spectacular slam with partner-in-rhyme, Chris Parnell.
“That’s how it begins, and that's how I'ma finish it," Samburg said at the close.
Steve Martin made an appearance during a reprisal of the “Californians” skit, and fan-favorite character Stefon was guest during Weekend Update, providing his picks on the “coolest” spots to hang out in New York over the summer.
Update host Seth Meyer also brought up Facebook’s bonanza public debut on Friday, commenting, “So Facebook is worth $104 billion? Well, you can't really put a price tag on watching all your high school friends slowly get fatter.”
Jagger performed with Arcade Fire on the Rolling Stones' “The Last Time” and later with Foo Fighters on “Only Rock n’ Roll”. He took up a third anthem alongside legendary guitarist Jeff Beck, who joined the host to play the blues.
Wrote musician Barry Thomas Goldberg on Twitter, “The Jeff Beck solo on SNL was worth the price of admission to life.”
At the close of the show, Wiig stepped out to take her final bow, and to apparently confirm her departure.
Playing a teacher at graduation, Jagger drew attention to Wiig specifically, saying "Many of you are moving onto college, but I'd like to take a moment to say goodbye to one particular student who is leaving this summer ... to become a nun."
What did you think of the season finale? Will you miss Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and Jason Sudeikis? How did Mick Jagger do as host? Tell us on Facebook.
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