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COLUMN: What’s next for the cast of ‘Saturday Night Live’?

COLUMN: What’s next for the cast of ‘Saturday Night Live’?

COLUMN: What’s next for the cast of ‘Saturday Night Live’?
July 19
14:00 2021

Saturday Night Live, the long-running sketch comedy series that’s been airing episodes since October 1975, recently wrapped up its 46th season in the last month. While many wait for the new season that’ll likely start production in the fall, one question that always pops up during the time between seasons: what’s the status of the cast?

Will any new cast members or writers join the New York-based series? Will any of the featured players be promoted by SNL creator Lorne Michaels or NBC’s executive higher-ups, to the role of repertory players/main cast members? Will any of the cast members on the show depart from the series and move onto other projects?

We won’t know until the details are given out, but until we do, I’m going to have to speculate. If you look into the current and cast and their current projects, it might be easier to figure out. In order to make this easier to follow, I’ll divide the analysis into two categories. I’m going to look over the repertory cast members in alphabetical order, then look over the featured players in alphabetical order. While discussing each cast member, I’ll also go over who I think will likely stick around on “Saturday Night Live.”

Repertory players:

Beck Bennett, as a cast member, is someone I’ve been mixed on for a while now. He made his debut on SNL during the show’s 39th season in September 2013 as a featured player, joined the cast with several others including Kyle Mooney (who I’ll discuss later) and was promoted to become a main cast member two seasons later. Before joining the show, he’d been mainly known for his involvement in AT&T’s “It’s Not Complicated” commercials, which I personally was never a fan of. I didn’t think they were funny, they were based on a sophomoric premise and I was glad when AT&T stopped making them.

On the show, it took a while for me to warm up to Beck and his role. While I don’t blame him for that, especially since he was starting during an uneven season on SNL, Bennett has thankfully been becoming a better cast member for a while. While I’ll admit I haven’t seen SNL in a while, from the bits I’ve seen, he’s someone who I’ve enjoyed more and seen a lot of potential in. He’s admittedly had some pretty solid celebrity impressions with his Putin impression being a highlight.

I’ll admit I’m not entirely sure if he’ll return for another season. While he has been getting more roles in films and doing well on TV parts, a particular highlight is his involvement as Launchpad McQuack on the recent reboot of DuckTales, and for that reason, I could also see Bennett staying on a little longer on SNL. I’ll call it and saying he’s got a 50/50 chance of staying on for next season — we’ll just have to see what happens.

Aidy Bryant has been proving herself as a performer and a comedienne on SNL for a while. She joined the cast during the premiere of season 38 alongside Cecily Strong and Tim Robinson. While Tim would only be a cast member for one season before moving on to become a writer for the show, Bryant and Strong have both proven themselves as cast members on the show (I’ll have more to say about Cecily later on). Bryant has had plenty of excellent recurring characters and celebrity impressions on SNL and has been one of my favorites for a while now. No matter the quality of a sketch, Aidy always puts her all into her performances and has provided loads of laughter. Due to her increasing success in movies and shows, like Bennett, there is a 50/50 chance of her staying on for the next season. Whatever she chooses to do, I bet she’ll bring lots of laughter with her.

Michael Che, as a comedian, has definitely proven himself as one of the best in the cast. He started his time on the show as a writer in 2013, was a featured player for two years from 2014 to 2016 and has been a main cast member, co-head writer and the Weekend Update anchor with Michael Che since 2014. Che’s proven himself as a comedian and writer, and even when he’s had his slip-ups on the show, he’s always found a way to bounce back and make plenty laugh live from New York on Saturday night. While he’s been doing well on TV for the long run, I’m betting Che will be staying on the show for another season.

Pete Davidson has proven himself as a cast member. Not only was he the first SNL cast member born in the ’90s, as well as one of the youngest when he joined the show when he was twenty years old, he has also been on the show since the premiere episode of season 40 and has brought plenty of hilarious moments along with him.

While some of his material on SNL has caused him to land in hot water from his comments on the Catholic Church to his comments on Dan Crenshaw, Davidson has proven to be funny from his time on SNL to his appearances on MTV’s Wild ‘N Out and his involvement in Comedy Central’s Roasts of Justin Bieber and Rob Lowe. There have been rumors of Davidson likely leaving SNL, which if that is the case, wouldn’t surprise me due to the increase in roles he’s taken part in, especially in movies like “The King of Staten Island” and the upcoming sequel of “Suicide Squad.” He has also added to the chatter through some of his latest comments about it. Whatever he decides to do, he will have a successful career as a performer.

Mikey Day’s definitely one of the newer main players, but since his start on SNL from being a three-year writer to being hired as a cast member, he’s definitely proven himself in multiple capacities. You can thank Day as one of the three creators of Tom Hanks’s Halloween-related character David S. Pumpkins. Day’s characters have been fun, and he’s been getting more involved with films and his work on SNL, so it could be a 50/50 chance on if he’ll be leaving the show or staying with the cast and crew.

Heidi Gardner has been performing on the show since 2017, and due to how well she’s been doing on the show, I could see her staying longer. She’s been proving herself as a performer, especially with her celebrity impressions.

Colin Jost is someone I would definitely consider one of the best contributors to SNL right now. Jost started his time with the show as a writer in 2005, has been working as one of the head writers for a while and became the new Weekend Update co-anchor after Seth Meyers left SNL to host Late Night. Jost has written plenty of excellent sketches on the show, and he and Michael Che have proven to be some of the best Weekend Update anchors in the show’s history. With the increase in roles for him in film, I could see Colin being on the show longer — but I’m not entirely sure for how long.

Kate McKinnon has proven to be one of the all-time best cast members of SNL. Not only has she proven herself as a comedienne, but also as a cast member on SNL and other shows and movies. She’s had plenty of hilarious characters, but her impressions especially have me on the floor laughing, from her takes on Justin Bieber and Hillary Clinton to Ellen DeGeneres, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jeff Sessions and more. In general, one of her strengths as a performer has always been her willingness to try new things and stick with it. This is the same woman who was able to make a mermaid based on a blowfish simultaneously gross and repulsive, but also somewhat humorous.

With the increase in success, she’s had in both film and TV for a long time, there might be a chance she ends up moving on from SNL to continue making her mark as an actress. No matter what she does, she’ll always find a way to make people laugh.

Alex Moffat is someone who’s been making a name for himself on the show for a while. Having joined the cast during the 42nd season, he already has plenty of memorable moments, especially with his impressions. The ones that have stood out are Casey Affleck, Tucker Carlson, Anderson Cooper and Joe Biden among others. Because Moffat has had an increase in roles on SNL, I’m betting it’ll be a while before he exits SNL and finishes his time there.

Kyle Mooney, like Beck Bennett, was another cast member who took some time to get into as a performer. I didn’t care for him much during the first couple of seasons he was on (but those seasons had quality problems, too) and I was never much into his character Bruce Chandling, but after a few years, he’s definitely gotten much better. Considering the increase in roles he’s had on both television and film, there’s a 50/50% chance of Mooney either staying on the show or departing, but I do have a hunch he’ll be staying on the show a little longer.

Ego Nwodim is a cast member I, unfortunately, haven’t gotten to see as much of compared to her peers, but from what I’ve seen, she’s definitely a great addition to the cast. SNL has had plenty of excellent Black performers among the cast over its long history and Nwodim is no exception. While she’s had plenty of roles in films and television shows, I’m betting she will be on the show for a long time.

Chris Redd has been proving himself as a performer with hilarious impressions and skits, and as someone who’s been doing well in shows and movies including “Popstar: Stop Never Stopping,” I bet he will stick around for a while.

Cecily Strong has proven herself immensely, and due to the amount of time she’s been on the show along with her increase in roles, there might be a bigger chance of her departing from SNL, but whatever she decides to do, she will continue to bring loads of laughter wherever she goes.

Kenan Thompson, as a cast member, is a legend who’s proven to be one of the SNL greatest of all time. Despite his excellent characters and impressions in and outside of SNL (including his own show), Thompson has said time and time again he will continue on the show.

Melissa Villaseñor not only has been proving herself as a cast member, she’s also had plenty of excellent impressions. Due to her increasing success in outside movies and shows, she might either leave the show to pursue other opportunities or might stay on the show longer. Either way, she’ll always make me laugh.

Featured players:

Andrew Dismukes, due to his status as one of the newest cast members in the lineup currently, will likely stay on the show for a while unless he gets dumped after his first season. Hopefully, he gets a chance to prove himself as a comedian and performer before that can happen.

Chloe Fineman has been proving herself, especially with hilarious and spot-on Britney Spears impression. Due to her status on as a newer cast member, I’m betting she’ll be on the show longer, and if she wasn’t, her absence would be a loss of potential. Fineman has the potential to become a stand-out performer in no time.

Lauren Holt is another cast member who, from what I’ve seen, I could see having plenty of chances of proving herself as a cast member with some screen time.

Punkie Johnson has been proving herself as a new cast member, so I have a hunch they will be on the show longer. I think this is nice due to the history she’s making as a cast member, along with her great performance potential.

Bowen Yang has been proving himself as a comedian and cast member with some stand-out impressions, like Kim Jong Un, and characters, like the Titanic Ice Berg. I can see Bowen being on the show longer and really establishing himself as a major cast player on the show.

Overall, I’m betting on the big chance of the majority of the cast staying on the show for another season. No matter what happens, there will always be people who are ready to work hard and perform every week through one of the darkest times in human history. Every season has a healthy combination of rookie performers and seasoned veterans, and I’m looking forward to what the next season brings.

Courtesy Netflix

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Grant Tittle

Grant Tittle

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