Every new season of Saturday Night Live brings excitement. There are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of Saturday Night Live. Big names like Pete Davidson, Kenan Thompson, and Kate McKinnon all seemed primed for greener pastures. With the new cast announced, let’s see who’s leaving.
Rumors Ran Rampant
Season 46 was unusual for SNL. As the entire cast was back from the previous year, the roster was becoming a bit too full. The rise of Bowen Yang from the background to can’t miss cast member meant the show appeared to be in good hands should there be a few exits.
Since the finale, speculation has been rampant. Aidy Bryant, McKinnon (Thompson), Cecily Strong (McKinnon) opened the show in what many considered a farewell. Melissa Villaseñor tweeted-and-deleted a farewell of her own. Davidson started to talk about hanging up his jersey. There were good reasons to believe that the cast might experience a major generational change.
Most Are Staying
The rumor mill was proven false, as most of the principal cast will be coming back for season 47. Kenan didn’t get Thompson to leave, Strong’s successful memoir didn’t sway her, nor did The Suicide Squad did not displace Davidson. Two people remain.
Lauren Holt is a one-season wonder. She didn’t get as much screen time as you would expect from a new player. She made history as the first woman in SNL history to be born in the 1990s. She was featured in Forbes 30 under 30 last year, so there are still great things ahead.
Bennett Is Out
The other face leaving is more familiar. Beck Bennett joined SNL in 2013, and got promoted to repertory status in 2015. Bennett was a lot of different celebrities over those years, but his surreal sketches stand out. Among his best is a Legend of Bagger Vance parody opposite Rege-Jean Page entitled “The Job Interview,” which was at no point predictable.
Another highlight of his final years was “A Picture With Dad,” featuring Anya Taylor-Joy. Bennett was a successful entrepreneur, especially when he used pre-taped sketches.
Who’s Coming In?
Yang was promoted to the main casting, which is no surprise considering that he received an Emmy nomination last season. He’s joined by Chloe Fineman. Aristotle Athari (James Austin Johnson) and Sarah Sherman are the new additions. It can take a year or two for new players to really make an impact, but their addition means the cast is actually growing despite the exits.
The bell tolls for every SNL cast member eventually. Time will tell how long stalwarts like McKinnon and Bryant decide to stick around, but they’ll get to grace screens on Saturday nights for at least another year.