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'We All Lost It': Maya Rudolph And Jimmy Fallon Admit Will Ferrell’s Last Day On The SNL Set Was Extremely Emotional

 Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon on SNL.
Maya Rudolph, Will Ferrell and Jimmy Fallon on SNL.

Saturday Night Live is known for consistently delivering the laughs with its combination of hilarious comedians and celebrity guests (just look at the talented upcoming hosts for SNL’s Season 49). The schedule that the NBC sketch comedy’s cast members and writers keep is notoriously intense, and one can imagine the tight bonds that form amongst the colleagues. Inevitably, though, people move onto different projects, which apparently can be an extremely emotional event, and Maya Rudolph and Jimmy Fallon recalled the tearful goodbyes they gave to Will Ferrell on his final day on set.

Will Ferrell is one of SNL’s top cast members, in creator Lorne Michaels’ opinion anyway, and it’s easy to see why, with seven years starring in some of the series’ most beloved sketches. During an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Maya Rudolph recalled the Elf star’s last day on set in 2001, explaining the tradition they had for departing members. She said:

At the last table read you write stuff that you know isn’t gonna make it on the show, but you just do it to send off the person that you love. And we did, it was like a parody of the Phoebe Snow song, it was ‘Poetry Man,’ but I made it, ‘You’re the Comedy Man. You make everything alright. Yeah, yeah.’

What a special parting gift to leave your colleagues with. I can’t think of anything more meaningful or appropriate for the Saturday Night Live cast than to have their friends write sketches just for them. Jimmy Fallon joined Maya Rudolph in her song before recalling his own memory of that day:

We all lost it. It was like five sketches that were just, like, ‘We love you, Will.’ That’s all they really said. It’s like, ‘We love you, dude. We miss you.’ When you say goodbye to a cast member, you root for them, obviously, but you miss the times that you have with them.

Saturday Night Live definitely sounds like a fun place work, especially with comedy actors like Will Ferrell keeping things interesting. Maya Rudolph and Jimmy Fallon laughed as they remembered the characters Ferrell would play, showing up to pitch meetings as “Chip Kudrow” or “Ron.” They said they were so lucky to have had that experience, where practicing improv all day and doing weird bits were the norm.

But just like Maya Rudolph, who exited Saturday Night Live in 2007, and Jimmy Fallon, who left in 2004, Will Ferrell has returned to 30 Rockefeller Plaza, serving as the host for a handful of episodes, so at least it wasn't goodbye forever.

I love hearing about these fond memories that SNL’s past cast members made on the set of the show, and I can’t wait to see who might pop up and what hijinks might happen when they go “live from New York.” Up next, Ramy Youssef will host at 11:30 p.m. ET Saturday, March 30, on NBC with musical guest Travis Scott. Episodes can also be streamed with a Peacock subscription, and be sure to check out our 2024 TV schedule to keep up with all of the upcoming premiere dates.