Saturday Night Live has been hurting this year, and it doesn’t look like things are going to get better any time soon.
The most recent show this past weekend was hosted by Ben Affleck and featured the exit of Bill Hader, who has been a cast member since 2005. The May 18th performance showcased the final appearance of Hader’s eccentric, crowd-pleasing character Stefon. Rumors are circulating that veterans Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen will also be leaving the show after this season wraps up.
On top of this is the recent announcement that Seth Meyers will be replacing Jimmy Fallon on Late Night, potentially leaving SNL devoid of its more recognizable players. Maybe the changing of the guard isn’t such an awful thing though. Saturday Night Live has been underperforming this year, despite the presence of seasoned cast members like Armisen and Hader. The 2012 Presidential Election that was ripe with humor but ended up as a missed opportunity as a missed opportunity for SNL. So if Armisen and Sudekis do in fact join the retiring Hader and Meyers, we might see an improvement in their absence.
The freshman class of 2013 consists of Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon and Tim Robinson. Bryant and Strong are steady additions, and have yet to really be positioned in breakout roles (besides Strong’s porn actress-turned-champagne pusher.) Tim Robinson is kind of an eye sore and mainly fills up empty space; he may not be around for long. Kate McKinnon is the most promising new cast member, with expressive eyes and oddball characters that seem to channel those of Kristen Wiig.
A mass exodus of the former staple SNL cast members will put the spotlight on actors like Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer, who play up the bizarre to great effect in sketches like “J Pop America Funtime Now.”