Every new season of Saturday Night Live brings excitement. The cast changes every year, and there were reasons to think turnover may be high going into season 47. 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. The entire cast returned from the year before, so the roster was getting a tad bloated. 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.
Speculation ran rampant ever since the season finale. Thompson, McKinnon, Cecily Strong, and Aidy Bryant open the show in what many viewed as a farewell. Melissa Villaseñor tweeted-and-deleted a farewell of her own. Davidson began to discuss hanging up his jersey as well. There were legitimate reasons to think the cast could see a generational upheaval.
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. All but two folks are sticking.
Lauren Holt will be a one-season wonder. As one can expect from a new featured player, she did not get much screen time. 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 impersonated loads of celebrities in those years, but his surreal sketches stick 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 carved out a nice niche during his run, especially with pre-taped sketches.
Who’s Coming In?
Yang has been promoted to the main cast, a given considering he scored an Emmy nomination last year. He’s joined by Chloe Fineman. The new names are Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson, and Sarah Sherman. 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.