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Nothing in life is a sure thing, and the percentage of success gets exponentially more minuscule when the thing in question is a career with Lorne Michaels and Saturday Night Live. The latest cast casualty to this ebbing and flowing sketch series is first-year performer Brooks Wheelan, who was added during one of the most tumultuous casting transitions in the series’ long history. R.I.P., that Weekend Update segment and the tiny handful of characters that SNL actually let Wheelan play.
The news came from the 27-year-old Wheelan himself, who predictably took to Twitter to make the announcement. You gotta respect someone who can deliver a public smile and a joke when they’re probably freaking out a little on the inside.
THR sources close to Saturday Night Live supposedly confirmed the news, but no official word has come out yet. Does that mean more axes are dropping for one or more of the other Season 39 newcomers? Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, John Milhiser, Noel Wells and Mike O’Brien were brought in before Wheelan, while Sasheer Zamata was a politically-charged midseason addition. Not that freshman cast members are the only ones who might be in trouble.
But enough negativity. Let’s get into some positive thinking, like Wheelan’s impersonation of Oscar winner Jared Leto.
Wheelan, who also pulled off mean impersonations Matthew McConaughey and Harry Styles, was a welcome addition to Weekend Update, where he would often take parts of his stand-up act and use them as cautionary PSAs. A graduate of the University of Iowa, Wheelan has a background with the Upright Citizens Brigade theater and will presumably be making his way to at least three cancelled Comedy Central series in 2015. The video below is a somewhat harsh but still clever take on the “Best of Saturday Night Live” DVDs, with Wheelan in mind.
More announcements, including contract extensions and terminations, will come in August. Perhaps then, we’ll finally have an answer on whether featured player Nasim Pedrad will leave the show to focus on her role in the sitcom Mulaney. Will you guys miss Brooks Wheelan's presence on SNL?