Between American politics behaving like American Ninja Warrior, Hollywood finding itself in a daily Twitter Thunderdome, and the general feeling that we could all use a good laugh, Saturday Night Live's 42nd season could be the its biggest yet. But when the sketch comedy series returns in the fall, it'll be down two major players, an NBC press representative confirmed to Thrillist: Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam.
Killam, who ends his SNL run after six seasons, is known for characters like the 1860s newspaper critic Jebidiah Atkinson and Mokiki, guru of the Sloppy Swish. He regularly impersonated Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy, and spoofed Marco Rubio during the Republican primary this Fall. Pharoah, another six-season vet, was SNL's master of disguise, inhabiting Jay-Z, Will Smith, President Obama, GOP candidate Dr. Ben Carson, and series alum Eddie Murphy during his time on the show.
"I don’t know that the end of something that you’ve committed that much time and energy to is ever going to feel 'great,' Killam tells Uproxx. Saturday Night Live players sign seven-year contracts, and the actor assumed he would be back for one last year. NBC representatives for SNL and producer Lorne Michaels declined to comment on the cuts to Thrillist, and in the interview, Killam admits he's also in the dark. "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."