Mick Jagger brought plenty of Rolling Stones music, but no Rolling Stones, as he hosted the season finale of “Saturday Night Live” on NBC.
Jagger, 68, even applied two Stones classics to serenading Kristen Wiig in the show’s final segment Saturday night as she made her final appearance as an “SNL” cast member.
It’s been rumored for weeks that Wiig would exit “SNL” after the conclusion of this season, now that her career is heating up in the wake of her Oscar nomination for “Bridesmaids” (for co-writing the screenplay).
The farewell “SNL” staged for her served as the first public confirmation from the show that she’s leaving. And by the way, there was no similar confirmation that Andy Samberg would follow her out the door, as has also been rumored lately.
In Wiig’s good-bye segment, Jagger led “SNL” cast members, the “SNL” band, and members of Arcade Fire (one of the evening’s other musical guests) in singing “She’s a Rainbow” and “Ruby Tuesday” to Wiig, as she danced briefly with each of her “SNL” castmates and producer Lorne Michaels. And yes, she shed plenty of tears. Among the lyrics of “Ruby Tuesday”: “Still we’re gonna miss you.”
It was a genuinely touching scene — a great capper to a show in which highlights abounded, due mainly to Jagger’s charisma and star power.
Mick Jagger proved so versatile in his “SNL” stint — his first ever as guest host of the show — that you couldn’t take your eyes off of him, whether he was performing music or comedy (especially the former). The musical highlights of this “SNL” were many, starting with this performance with Foo Fighters of two Stones hits — “19th Nervous Breakdown” and “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Incredible.
Jagger was game to appear in multiple sketches — almost all of them. And he was especially effective when playing against his internationally famous image as a macho rock god and sex symbol.
Our favorite of these against-type sketches was the one in which Jagger played “Kevin,” a shy nebbish out for an evening of karaoke with a group of acquaintances who watch as others perform as Jagger (including Fred Armisen, who was great at it). The sketch’s conclusion, featuring a unique rendering of the Stones’ “Satisfaction,” was a highlight of the evening.
Here’s an example of how Jagger’s showmanship lifted “SNL”: Late in the show, Jeff Beck showed up. Yes, one of the most proficient and respected guitarists in the history of rock music turned up all of a sudden to accompany Mick in the singing of a blues song Mick wrote about this year’s presidential election campaign. How’d this happen? Well, Mick probably just asked him if he’d do it and Beck said yes.
Speaking of surprises, we never saw this coming: The “SNL” writers had Mick Jagger impersonating Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. This has to be seen to be believed.
At various times during Saturday night’s “SNL,” we couldn’t help wondering if the other Rolling Stones (in particular, Keith Richards) were watching Jagger performing so many of their hits with other people and feeling left out (or, more to the point, ticked off). We especially enjoyed Jagger’s performance of “The Last Time” with Arcade Fire. While we watched it, we also had to envy the young members of Arcade Fire, who got a unique opportunity to perform with a rock legend — a memory that will likely stay with them for all their lives.
To see the rest of Jagger’s comic performances on “SNL,” we suggest you watch the entire show, below. But before we leave you, here’s a non-Jagger segment from Saturday night’s show that’s garnering its own share of morning-after buzz. It’s the return of Chris Parnell, with Andy Samberg, in a new “Digital Short” styled as a sequel to the most legendary “SNL Digital Short” of them all.