'SNL' recap: Jake Gyllenhaal marks the ‘End of the Road’ for Season 49 in finale episode

Jake Gyllenhaal returned to host
Jake Gyllenhaal returned to host "Saturday Night Live" for the third time in the show's Season 49 finale on May 18. (YouTube)

Actor and Road House star Jake Gyllenhaal — along with musical guest Sabrina Carpenter — wrapped up Season 49 of Saturday Night Live. Here are some of the highlights from Saturday’s episode:

With Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial entering its sixth week on Monday, James Austin Johnson performed his impersonation of the former president in a “very weird and depressing” hallway outside the Manhattan courthouse.

Johnson-as-Trump delivered a meandering press conference about his veepstakes, with Devon Walker returning as South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Heidi Gardner as South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, brandishing a gun next to a fake dog.

He wrapped things up by mentioning his summer events, including “another January 6, this time in July […] you see all those guys back at the Capitol, but this time in shorts.”

Gyllenhaal’s vocal talent was on full display to kick off the finale of Season 49 — the last one before the memorable 50th anniversary season. He began serenading the audience with a rendition of Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” and switched up the lyrics, claiming he was the last resort to host the finale.

“They asked Pedro Pascal, but he wasn’t around. Zendaya said no because she’d be out of town. Even asked [Ryan] Gosling to come back again, just hosted three shows ago,” he sang.

NYPD Sgt. Jeff McDougal (played by Gyllenhaal) gave a press conference about random acts of violence in New York City and had one message: “Stop punching character actors in the face.” The sketch followed the news that actor Steve Buscemi was recently targeted, as was Rick Moranis in 2020. In the sketch, McDougal also issued a warning to character actors like Seinfeld girlfriends and Gilmore Girls’ Lauren Graham, and said actor Stephen Root was given a security detail.

‘Canceling a Flight’

Gyllenhaal played a frustrated Southwest Airlines customer who kept getting transferred while trying to change a flight. The sketch didn’t quite land for some critics. Reviewers at AV Club thought it was too similar to a Spectrum-related sketch from Season 47 featuring Succession actor Kieran Culkin. “If the show is going to bring back previously done concepts, we appreciate when there’s a new angle or twist to the bit,” the AV Club wrote.

"Weekend Update" co-hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che took swipes at this week’s announcement that President Biden and Trump have agreed to two debates this summer. Jost quipped, “To preview the debates, take a bottle of Ambien and Adderall at the same time.”

Che added that Trump requested that the two stand instead of sit, and Che joked: “I think we can learn a lot more watching them both try to get out of a beanbag chair.”

Later in the segment, Jost interviewed two cicadas (played by Kenan Thompson and Marcello Hernández), as more than a trillion cicadas will be coming to the U.S. this summer, with two broods expected to emerge.

In honor of the Season 49 finale, Jost and Che agreed to do a “joke swap” in which the two write jokes for each other to read aloud for the first time on camera.

Jost was also forced to read a joke about his wife, actress Scarlett Johansson: “ChatGPT has released a new voice assistant feature inspired by Scarlett Johansson’s AI character in Her, which I never bothered to watch,” he read painfully. “Because without that body, what’s the point of listening?”

Che was also forced to read jokes about rapper Kendrick Lamar, unintentionally starting a war with him.

Sabrina Carpenter took the stage with performances of her latest single “Espresso” and performed a medley of “Feather” and “Nonsense.”

  • Season 50: SNL will return in the fall with its big 50th anniversary season.