After SNL Exit, Aidy Bryant Explained Why She Didn’t Leave The Show As Early As She Once Intended

Aidy Bryant on Saturday Night Live
(Image credit: NBC)

When Season 47 of Saturday Night Live came to an end in May 2022, multiple surprise exits were part of the finale festivities. Among those now-former stars were the rumored-to-be-leaving Aidy Bryant, who had been a celebrated staple on the variety sketch series since 2012. Now that the comedian and Shrill creator has stepped away from her longtime gig, Bryan has opened up about initially wanting to leave the show years earlier, and why it didn't happen.

Aidy Bryant discussed her time on SNL and beyond while speaking with Variety, saying that, like many people around the world, she found her entire life upended by the pandemic, which inevitably made it hard for her to quit when she wanted to. If not for COVID, Bryant's exit would have presumably come back in 2020. (I think even she'd hesitate to call that a silver lining, exactly, even if she has spoken about finding light in dark times.) But it seemed to have worked out for the better, as she said:

If it weren’t for COVID, I probably would have left a few years earlier. But it was such a huge change. When COVID hit, it was so jarring that we were all like, ‘I’m definitely going to come back next year.’ And then I had to shoot Shrill for half of last season, and so I missed a lot. And then it was like, ‘Well, now I should go back one more.’ I kept trying to seek one last normal year. This year wasn’t the normal year that I hoped for, but it was closer to that. It was like, ‘OK, it’s really time now.’ And 10 felt like a nice, solid round number.

It’s not so surprising to hear that Aidy Bryant wanted to leave even before COVID hit, considering her career has become all the more busy with other projects like Hulu's Shrill and Netflix's animated series Human Resources. Judging from her words, it seems like it was for the best that she stayed on longer, even if she couldn't fully nail that last "normal" year. 

SNL quickly moved to virtual episodes once filming in-person became impossible, and that would have probably been the worst possible time for Aidy Bryant to bow out. Even after the show returned to Studio 8H, it sounds like Bryant was still buoyed between staying on longer and finding the right time to leave.

Earlier this year when asked about her future on SNL, she remained cryptic, noting that she was “taking it one minute at a time.” In hindsight, it's interesting to note that she likely had her exit plans in the back of her mind when questions like that came up. Making such a decision definitely wasn't easy, so it makes sense that she didn't want to address it in full until it was already a done deal.

Bryant announced her exit from SNL along with fellow heavy-hitters Kate McKinnon, Kyle Mooney, and Pete Davidson. The season finale was an emotional one for the group, with each getting their own sendoffs, fighting back tears, and earning massive applause from the studio audience. It’s unclear if Bryant will ever return to the series in a guest appearance or even host like some other SNL vets, but fingers crossed she returns in the near future. She did note that she didn't consider herself completely finished with the show yet, so that bodes well.

Earlier this month, Bowen Yang praised the four stars for leaving a lasting legacy on the series. He mentioned that the group “defined what that show is in the last decade” and even though there have been plenty of cast exits throughout the series’ decades-long run, losing four all in one swoop is a big change, and his sentiments definitely ring true.

Season 48 of Saturday Night Live will no doubt be different in some ways without the four beloved cast members, while still being the same show that fans know and love.  Hopefully there won't be any other exits before the new episodes arrive, but while we're waiting for that to happen, all 47 seasons of Saturday Night Live are streaming with a Peacock subscription!

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.