Ben Affleck got some help from wife Jennifer Garner as he hosted the season finale of “Saturday Night Live,” featuring an elaborate farewell to Bill Hader and, seemingly, a swan-song sketch for long-time cast member Fred Armisen.
Hader, 34, got his farewell scene during “Weekend Update” Saturday night on NBC when he turned up on the Seth Meyers “newscast” in one of his best-known roles — as man-about-town Stefon.
The lavish sketch — which featured guest appearances by Amy Poehler and Anderson Cooper — moved from the “SNL” studio at 30 Rock in Manhattan to a church where the gay Stefon was about to marry Cooper, unless Meyers could stop it in the manner of Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate.” The bit was obviously designed as a farewell for Hader, a key cast member who is leaving the show after eight seasons.
When he opened the show for what would be his fifth guest-hosting stint, Affleck was under the impression he would be inducted into “SNL’s” star-studded Five Timers’ Club — as Justin Timberlake was earlier this year when he was welcomed into the club by Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Paul Simon and Tom Hanks. But all Affleck got was a wan congratulations from cast member Bobby Moynihan. Jennifer Garner then joined Ben on-stage for the remainder of his monologue.
Neither NBC nor “SNL” have confirmed the rumors that Saturday’s show was the last for Fred Armisen, 46, who’s been on the show since 2002. But the sketch in which he appeared as punk rocker Ian Rubbish, accompanied by an all-star band, played to many observers as a farewell segment.
In fact, Armisen demonstrated just how valuable he is to the show in this next sketch in which he played Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In the bit, Ahmadinejad makes a movie to refute the hostage-escape story Affleck told in his Oscar-winning movie “Argo.”