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With the News That Chris Redd Is ALSO Exiting ‘SNL’ Before Season 48, We Have to Ask: Who’s Still Standing?

"Thah's sah..."

The full cast of Saturday Night Live's 47th season.

Being an SNL fan is a lot of hard work, not because watching TV is such a “demanding” hobby, but because there are lot of reasons to knock the show. It’s always ebbing and flowing in quality, and I’d say that it’s more common to watch an episode and think, “Well, at least there were one or two good ones,” than to think, “Oh WOW, another banger, per usual!!”

Part of the disdain that I, as a fan, have for the show is its treatment of its ever-rotating cast of players. There seems to be a wide gap between the show’s darlings and the newbies, and if you don’t conform to the cast’s social hierarchy (or are nepotism babies, a la “Please Don’t Destroy”), then you’re screwed.

That said, last season’s cast was so groundbreakingly huge, it only makes sense that a whopping nine players have left to pursue other avenues in their careers. These departures range from expected, to surprising, to downright infuriating. And, of course, there are four new players to pick up where they left off. Here’s a comprehensive list to help you prepare for Season 48, premiering on October 1st.

Chris Redd

Welp, here we have the most recent departure announcement. Excuse me while I grab a hanky, I’m actually pissed about this.

Chris Redd made the rap sketches a thing. Like, yeah, other players contributed and helped flesh them out, but Chris was the one with the most solid and hilarious bars. He was one of the steadiest and most consistent members of the cast, and while some fans are sick of hearing this particular line of discourse, I’m just gonna say it: he was criminally underrated. I won’t tolerate Chris Redd slander in my house, I loved seeing him in sketches and just can’t believe he’s getting such an unceremonious departure.

That’s not the only reason I’m pissed, though. Some fans were theorizing that his departure notice came later than others because he was trying to negotiate a higher salary all summer, and they denied him. Yes, could just be a rumor, but if it IS true, then hey, Lorne? NBC? If you’re reading this?

Pete Davidson

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m an unapologetic fan of Pete Davidson. Am I blind to the shitty things he’s done? No, not at all. But I can’t help but have some love for him, because he and I share a lot of similar health issues, and it did wonders for my recovery to see someone like me putting himself out there with authenticity. I’d watch his Weekend Update appearances over and over again, and they’d help me realize that there’s no shame in dealing with some extra challenges in life.

That said, yes, it is time for him to depart and find new projects. He’s been talking about leaving for a long time, and by now, he’s proven that he’s more than capable of expanding his repertoire. Plus, a lot of his screentime in the last season was just showing up and being himself, and as much as I love the guy, other people who put in more effort to make an impression deserve more of that screentime.

Kate McKinnon

Goddamn. It’s gonna be weird having an SNL without Kate McKinnon. But also, I think it’s about time. This might be an unpopular opinion, but I think SNL got lazy with their star player these last few years. They’d put her on with little to no thought, just because they knew people loved her. And in the process, a lot of other new talents got shafted. It was kind of unfair–Kate had her day, isn’t it time someone else does?

But that isn’t a dig on Kate herself. Obviously, she’s one of the most talented players the show has ever seen, and the impact she’s left on the show is nothing to sniff at. I hope that, whatever comes next for her, she continues to bring her authentic and wild sense of humor.

Aidy Bryant

LITTLE. BABY. AIDY. I had to forcibly remind myself that she was leaving the show because I couldn’t honestly believe it.

I mean, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Aidy deserved better than what SNL could give her. As a thick girl, I noticed a trend: because she was plus-sized, they made her play dowdy and Mom-ish characters more often than other players, which was honestly shitty of them. Aidy’s sexy! She’s fun and cool! And thankfully, she had writer friends on staff who acknowledged and utilized this when they could (see above)!

All the same, she brought a really unique presence to the cast that will sorely be missed, but I have no doubts in my mind that she’ll continue to do amazing things. Watch Shrill on Hulu if you haven’t already!!

Kyle Mooney

I think we all knew this one was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier to cope with. Oh, Kyle Mooney. Sweet Kyle Mooney. SNL didn’t deserve you.

This man is so creative and hilarious, but in a subtle way that SNL could never truly capitalize on. His old YouTube sketches (filmed with his best friend and fellow SNL alum Beck Bennett) showcase the sort of talent he could bring to the table, and sketches like the one above were too few and far between on the show proper.

I’m sure he probably had no problem with always being cast as the “sexually untouchable nerd,” but come on, guys, he’s more than that! I got really sick of seeing sketch after sketch where he played this role, not because he played it poorly (he definitely rose to the occasion), but because it showed me that SNL truly just didn’t care enough to go outside the box with their most creative players. Boooo.

Alex Moffat

NOOOOOOOO. I gasped when I heard this news. Genuinely didn’t see this one coming.

Alex Moffat always filled a certain dependable role within the cast: that of the deceptively “normal” white guy who was secretly unhinged. Such examples include his “Guy Who Just Bought A Boat” and “Eric Trump” characters, but I featured the above clip because it really, in my opinion, let him go full Quirked Up White Boy for us.

I mean, goddammit, who’s Mikey Day gonna play off of now? I’m sure he had his reasons and is seeking roles where he can widen his range, but I’m gonna miss him. Go watch the NYC rom-coms he’s in, he’s an absolute gem in them.

Aristotle Athari

Unfortunately, there’s quite a long list of new players who only last a season, and Aristotle Athari is the newest addition to that list. There’s always a litany of reasons why this might happen, and it’s always a little hush-hush, so we won’t likely get any concrete reasons for a long time. It could be that his sketches didn’t land, or that he got shafted for more regular players and got sick of it, or both, or neither.

Either way, it’s a shame, because it’s obvious that Aristotle is a really talented comedian and character artist, and at this point, I have a feeling that SNL’s writers pick favorites and don’t try too hard to bring out the best in their lesser-utilized players. I mean, just one season before, Lauren Holt left after one season, and she similarly seemed to have potential that was pushed aside in favor of some of the more “cliquey” members.

But I’m just speculating now, because man, it’s tough out there, and Aristotle deserved better!

Melissa Villasenor

I’ve saved Miss Meliss for last because, out of everyone else on this list, I really and truly am sad that we never really got to see her full self shine on the show. Melissa Villasenor was on the show for six years, but her particular talents and style never seemed to find a cohesive place in SNL‘s rigid format. She tried, goddamn she tried, but sometimes a thing isn’t for you, and that’s okay.

I decided to share the above clip because the quarantine sketches really seemed to bring out everyone’s most creative talents, without the input of others, and this sketch was just peak Meliss. Maybe this departure will be for the best, not just because SNL seemed to bring her a lot of stress, but because if this sketch is indicative of anything, it means we may just get a Melissa Golden Age now that she’s free to do her own thing.

Newbies!

Now that all my yakking is outta the way, let’s get the new bloods. We’ve got four of them, each with their own backgrounds in comedy, and I’m excited to see what they bring to the table—and HEY, SNL, maybe learn from your past and stop favoring the quirky white players over the players of color. Okay? We understand each other? Cool, let’s see ’em:

  • Marcello Hernandez, who has a wide and impressive resume, from opening for the likes of Gilbert Gottfried, to boasting a massive following on TikTok. He’s also a cutie-pie.
  • Devon Walker, an established comedy writer who’s got a good working relationship with Nick Kroll, whom he’s opened for, and also wrote for in Big Mouth. I personally think that some of the best players start off as writers, so I’m excited to see him work!
  • Molly Kearney, whose screen credits are Amazon’s A League of Their Own (love it) and Disney+’s The Mighty Ducks. They’ll also be the first non-binary cast member in history, which is fucking awesome.
  • Michael Longfellow, who was showcased on NBC’s Bring The Funny (hosted by Kenan) and, like the others on this list, was noted as a comic to watch for. I’m a big fan of his quiet and subtle style.

All in all, this is a really solid list of newbies, and I’m excited to see them in action—although, again, it remains to be seen whether or not SNL helps each one of them live to their fullest potential. For instance, Andrew Dismukes and Punkie Johnson still haven’t really broken out of “underutilized newbie status” after a not-insignificant time on the show, and it boggles the mind, considering how talented they are. Meanwhile, Sarah Sherman—who I LOVE, don’t get me wrong—has already secured a pretty steady position in the current cast after just one season. I can’t help but feel like there’s favoritism that goes on, and it doesn’t seem fair.

And look, I’m sure that sometimes it’s just a matter of who fits with the format and who doesn’t, and that’s fine and dandy. But comedy is one of those things that’s just so tough to break into, and I’d like to think that a show as longstanding and renowned as this one, has the resources to help everyone it bothers to hire equally. Again though, I suppose it remains to be seen.

Just please, for the love of god, be nice to these guys. If they flop any sketches off the jump, I guarantee you, there’s probably more going on than meets the eye.

(Featured Image: NBC)

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Madeline (she/her) is a writer and dog mom, with a varied background in media production, including music EPs, podcasts, and radio programs. She aims to use her writing to positively represent mixed-race people like herself, and is currently working on a novel. However, when she isn't writing, she's either battling insomnia or taking too many naps.