From one season of a TV show to the next, viewers aren't always guaranteed to see their favorite actors returning to the roles they've created (or in this case, impersonated). And that holds truest, perhaps, for Saturday Night Live, which has seen its cast members coming and going for over four decades now. When the hit sketch comedy returns to NBC for Season 42, it will be missing a pair of featured players in Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah, two of the veterans of this still-young cast.
With both having joined the cast in 2010, Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah are leaving the stage behind after six seasons of making audiences guffaw and/or stare at their TVs while perplexed. According to TVLine, the pair are bowing out of the show so that they can focus on other career opportunities, but I can't be alone in thinking that sounds pretty suspicious. Unless they have the same agent and they all meet up at the same time or something. Otherwise, it seems like there might be some hard feelings involved. But that's a discussion for another time.
Taran Killam, who got his sketch roots developed on The Amanda Show, already had a small-time acting career going when he joined SNL, but it obviously blew up after he was live on a major network on a weekly basis. In just six years on the show, he amassed over 100 impressions, putting him in a small club with Kenan Thompson, Darrell Hammond and Fred Armisen. He was known for taking on big names such as Matthew McConaughey, Peyton Manning and Eminem, while also taking on plenty of political targets like former host Donald Trump, Rick Santorum and Paul Ryan, to name a few.
Jay Pharoah, meanwhile, has been rocking the stand-up comedy circuit for years, touring with the likes of Charlie Murphy and others, and an impression of Barack Obama led to him finding national fame. On Saturday Night Live, you could find him rocking spot-on impersonations of people such as Jay-Z, Drake and Denzel Washington.
Both actors will likely continue to have successful careers, either on the big screen or on TV. Sucks that they're leaving behind such an iconic series, but it's great that they'll be seeking out other opportunities to get laughs out of fans in the future. Still, though, let's hope that nobody else is leaving, and that Lorne Michaels and his creative team bring in some equally talented names for Season 42 and beyond.
The next season of Saturday Night Live will debut at some point this fall, with a noticeable deduction in commercial breaks as well as actors. (Two ads per episode will be removed.) Could Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah return to the stage in the future, as many past stars have done before them? We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, check out everything else coming to the small screen later this year in our fall TV schedule.