While there are cast pillars, like Kenan Thompson, who will enter his 13th season this year, Michaels is known to seize opportunities when they come along, and swap when necessary. They're brusque because he doesn't expect them. Michaels told Maron that, while current cast member Leslie Jones is the "the real thing," she wasn't on his mind when casting two years ago. "What you say you're looking for, that's just the brochure. You don't really know until you see it."
The silver lining: Pharoah and Killam's abrupt farewell could open the door for new casting, or merely be Michaels way of paring down the cast, With boasted 12 main and four featured players -- sprawling by SNL standards. There's a diverse and overflowing comedian talent pool for Michaels to draw from (may we suggest Ali Wong, John Early, Natasha Rothwell, Ian Karmel, Claudia O’Doherty, and/or Henry Zebrowski?) the pre-election moment could be an urgent time for the producer to "move the show forward."