It’s been a rough season for Saturday Night Live. A talented cast had its moments, but overall there’s the sense that we’re in one of those periodic SNL valleys that must be ridden out until the right combination of writers and performers snaps into place again. But credit where it’s due: Last night’s season finale, hosted by returning alum Fred Armisen, was top-to-bottom funny, and contained one of the best sketches in years in the pitch-perfect Dead Poets Society parody “Farewell Mr. Bunting.” And since the skillfulness of the buildup and the eventual payoff to the sketch are what make it so surprising and funny, you ought to watch the video before you read anything else about it.

[Has second thoughts about embedding “Farewell Mr. Bunting” so high in the post.]

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See, it’s not that you can’t be trusted. It’s that great, surprising comedy sketches are the rarest of things, the most precious of gifts. And it’d be a real shame if you were tipped off to the ending of “Farewell Mr. Bunting” and that precious gift was taken away from you. Sometimes our eyes race ahead, as if possessed by some sort of perverse spirit of chaos, and seek to find out the ending of things that need the room and the patience to blossom into wonderful, rewarding experiences. Just FYI. Looking out for you. Okay, so, with no further ado—here’s “Farewell Mr. Bunting.”

[Pauses with fingers on keys. Okay. They’re ready.]

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