Back for the second week after a leave to have her baby, Amy Poehler signed off Saturday Night Live for good Saturday, giving a tearful farewell at the end of Weekend Update only to be obscured by a sort of tasteless gag involving blind New York Governor David Patterson.

Poehler put in an appearance in a skit with another woman who left the show Maya Rudolph, reprising their "Bronx Beat" early in the episode hosted by Hugh Laurie, the actor from House who had previously been a veteran British comedy star, who was in just about every sketch. In this one, Laurie played the new British butcher in the neighborhood whose accent they loved.

Things seemed pretty loose in the sketch; Poehler and Rudolph riffed off of one another, ad libbing enough that Laurie couldn’t keep a straight face. Things got even more abstract in the next sketch — a holiday family gathering where nobody got along, still none were allowed to leave the table, and before long they all harmonized on "Silent Night" for no particular reason. It succeeded on acting alone since there seemed to be no writing.

Just as different were the two performances by Kanye West in which he largely sang instead of rapped — in highly stylized performances done before a big video screen, it looked like something out of an arena or an awards show than the tiny studio at 30 Rock.

They got a lot of material out of the Blagojevich scandal as expected, starting with a senate banking committee appearance by the beleagured Illinois governor, in which the gag was largely the wig and the (bleeped) cussing.

The hair seemed the main complaint about Blagojevich in the Weekend Update material as well.

The best sketch may have been the one where one too many people rise up to give speeches at a wedding, one more strange than the next. It seemed more like a page from somebody’s unfinished screenplay than a fully realized sketch, but its characterizations were all strong.

Fred Armisen’s Patterson sketch was edgy — how many times to they portray blind people? But his was so cross-eyed exaggerated as to appear a little mean. Adding that comedy touch they used portraying John McCain — with the mixed-up politician walking back into the set and toward the camera when he wasn’t supposed to — only interrupted Poehler’s goodbye.

"I did just want to take a moment to thank everybody. This is my last show. And it has been an amazing expericne to be here; to be able to do over 140 shows with my friends and family has been a dream come true," Poehler said, eyes welling up. "And from the bottom of my heart, I really…"

Then Armisen popped up. It killed the moment, but it gave her a laugh.

Poehler will devote full time now to the new sitcom from the makers of The Office.

— Roger Catlin, Hartford Courant

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