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When Saturday Night Live returns for its 42nd season this fall, two veteran cast members will not be present. As first reported by TVLine, NBC has elected not to renew the contracts of Taran Killam and Jay Pharaoh, who had each been with SNL for six seasons.
In addition to Killam and Pharaoh, featured player Jon Rudnitsky will also be exiting Studio 8H this coming season. Rudnitsky was first announced as a SNL featured player in August 2015.
Killam is a veteran of the sketch show scene, having previously been a featured player on MADtv and Wild ‘n Out before joining SNL in 2010. As one of the show’s more versatile performers, Killam did impressions of such celebrities as Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, and Eminem. He also portrayed such popular characters as the cranky, anachronistic critic Jebidiah Atkinson for SNL’s venerable Weekend Update segment.
Pharaoh has been a professional standup since he was a teenager and became a viral hit for his impression of Barack Obama. Like Killam, Pharaoh became a SNL cast member in 2010 and became renowned for his mimicry. During his time on the show, the figures Pharaoh impersonated included Denzel Washington, Will Smith, and his comedic hero Eddie Murphy.
The losses of Killam, Pharaoh and Rudnitsky will surely be noticed when SNL returns this fall. But given the constant casting changes the show has undergone in its four-decade-plus history, it’s probably feels like just another day at the office for Lorne Michaels and company.