Say goodbye to these sweet-faced gentlemen. It’s been announced that neither one will be returning for Season 42 of Saturday Night Live.
Both Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam have been on SNL for six seasons, and The Hollywood Reporter says that they’re both leaving to work on other projects. In an interview with Uproxx, it sounds like in Killam’s case, that wasn’t exactly his plan. This would have been the last year of his seven year contract, but SNL didn’t pick it up:
“I had sort of had it in my head I would make this upcoming year my last year, but then heard they weren’t going to pick up my contract... I was never given a reason why, really.”
“I honestly don’t know what happened on the other side, but I do know we had expressed I have work on this film and in bonding this picture, that has to get cleared with SNL. My feeling about it is I got my dream job. I set out to be on SNL and I got to do that and I did very well. And I love and adore and will forever have close ties and tight bonds with the brilliant, smartest, funniest people I’ve ever met in my life. So, I have no gripes at all. I am so, so, so lucky to have been given the time I’ve been given.”
Killam is making his directorial debut with Why We’re Killing Gunther, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the post-production schedule for the film would have overlapped with the season, which may explain things.
There are lots of great sketches featuring Killam, but I will always have a place in my heart for him dancing to Call Your Girlfriend in a hallucinatory late night writer’s room goof session:
After Eddie Murphy, Pharoah is the youngest black male cast member to join the show. He has become known for his impressions of Murphy and also Jay Z, Will Smith, Lil Wayne, Denzel Washington, and a pretty dead-on Barack Obama. In this sketch from 2013, he and Kerry Washington took aim at SNL’s problem with hiring black women cast members (they didn’t have any):
No word yet on who will be replacing them, but there’s gotta be some male comedians somewhere, right?