When NBC’s sketch comedy show SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE returns for Season 42 this fall, there will be three faces missing, including two veterans. The contracts for Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah, and Jon Rudnitsky have not been renewed for the upcoming season, to the surprise of many. Killam and Pharoah have both been with the show for six seasons, while Rudnitsky joined in Season 41 and was the show’s most junior cast member.
Over the years, Killam and Pharoah have made audiences laugh with their numerous impressions including Jay-Z, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, and Denzel Washington for Pharoah and Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, and Matthew McConaughey for Killam. Plus, in a season that’s bound to be filled with political skits, losing Pharoah, who was known for portraying President Barack Obama and Killam, who had played the likes of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, is going to create a noticeable void.
According to Killam, he signed for seven years and this early departure was something of a surprise to him. “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.”
Rudnitsky, meanwhile, never had enough time to make a lasting impression, but he performed in a variety of sketches, from portraying Anderson Cooper to a better received Dirty Dancing skit.
There have been numerous departures from the show in recent years, including Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, and Fred Armisen before Season 39 and Seth Meyers leaving halfway through that same season. Still, with how long Killam and Pharoah have been on the show and how well-liked they were, it’s a shame they won’t be getting their own goodbye episode as previous cast members have received.
Killam is set to make his directorial debut with the forthcoming film Why We’re Killing Gunther.
Pharoah was recently in the film Get a Job alongside Anna Kendrick and Miles Teller. His voice will next be heard in two new animated features: Sing from Illumination and The Adventures of Drunky.
He is repped by ICM.
Rudnitsky appeared on an episode of Criminal Minds, as well as his season-long stint on SNL.
Anya Crittenton | Associate Editor
This news was first reported by TV Line.