The good news is we’re talking about Saturday Night Live drama. The bad news is it’s no where near as juicy as Toonces getting a DUI or Dooneese shopping around a solo sex tape called One Night in the Finger Lakes. But it’s still a little dramatic, so I’m on board. If I learned anything from reading Jay Mohr’s memoirs (don’t judge me) about his time on SNL, it’s that cast members spend their summer break wondering if they’ll be coming back in the fall. Apparently signing a 7-year contract means nothing at SNL, because Lorne Michaels can end it if he wants. That happened most recently to Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah. But unlike former cast members who dropped a “fuck“ on live TV, Taran didn’t really see this coming.
TV Line announced yesterday that an NBC spokesperson had confirmed that Taran and Jay would not be returning for SNL’s 42nd season in the fall. Both Taran and Jay were on the show for six years. Taran spoke to Uproxx shortly after it was announced that he was leaving, and if you’re wondering why he’s leaving, you’re not alone. Taran doesn’t know either.
“I enjoyed being on the show. I was there for six years….I don’t know fully. I don’t know the other side of it. You sign for seven years, so I had one more year. 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. I can assume until the cows come home.”
Taran is currently directing a comedy called Why We’re Killing Gunther starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he thinks that might have had something to do with getting let go. Taran says that there would have been two months of post-production on WWKG that would have bled into SNL’s production schedule. He tried to get that cleared with SNL, but it sounds like they weren’t going for it. He also says he got another offer for something, but assured them it wouldn’t conflict with SNL.
Deadline says that one-season featured player Jon Rudnitsky has also been dropped.
As for Jay Pharoah, he hasn’t said anything about this yet. He’ll be fine, he’s got that Old Navy commercial money. Who knows who will play President Obama, Jay-Z, Drake and Kanye West now that Jay Pharoah isn’t on the show anymore. But Kenan Thompson as Kanye is something I’d like to see. I also want to see Kenan as Kim Kardashian too. That sounds terrible, but really, it’s not like it would be any worse than the time Lorne Michaels let a rotten brick of Ski Queen cheese host the show.