Earlier this week Saturday Night Live held auditions at The Pit in NYC in front of show bigwigs like Lorne Michaels and head writer Seth Meyers. What does this mean? It means that as we hit the mid-season mark they are eyeing the future. Checking out possible new players as contracts expire and some of the older cast mates move onto other things.
This happens often and probably means we’ll see some of the older cast depart and featured members rise in the ranks. It also falls in line with the most recent departure of Paul Brittain.
The show’s producers made no moves in between last season and this one so we’ve had the very rare moment of no cast member leaving or joining the show since 2010. It’s definitely helped them all gel together and we’re in the middle of a pretty solid 2012 year.
So this begs the question… who do we think may be departing from the “old regime?” Long tenures? Budding movie careers? Not working out? Here are our guesses as to who we might see depart this time around…
Years On Cast: 7
Kristen Wiig can pretty much pick her future at the moment. Though SNL made her a star, she missed a lot of the last year’s season to promote Bridesmaids. Like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey before her, Wiig has the best chance to either blow up her growing movie career and collect more awards. Or even become a leading lady on television and beef up the awards in that realm as well. We would be surprised the least to hear Kristen Wiig decided to leave the show.
Characters we’d miss if she left: Bjork, Kathy Lee Gifford, Kat (Garth And Kat), Michelle Bachman, Aunt Linda (there are a lot)
Characters we wouldn’t: Gilly and Penelope (which she’s already retired), Shanna, Mindy Grayson (Secret Word), Dooneese Merrill (The Lawrence Welk Show), Sue (The surprised lady), and Target Lady (there are a lot)
Years on Cast: 7
If Bill Hader were to depart, it would probably be the biggest blow to the cast. Hader is clearly one of the most gifted performers on the show and pretty much nails every impression or character he’s done. But with this great talent comes many offers from others. Hader’s had many great supporting roles in huge comedies for a while now and might take this time to jump to a leading role. There’s only fuel to add to the fire of Hader’s departure after it appeared he wasn’t actually at the live taping this past week.
Characters we’d miss if he left: Stefon (the biggest breakout of the last few seasons), Vincent Price, and Herb Welch (News reporter)
Characters we wouldn’t: Vinni Vedeci (Italian Talk Show Host) and Dwayne Vogelcheck (The Kissing Family)
Years On cast: 9
We dig Kenan, and would like to see him stick around. He’s really hit his stride within the last few years so we often forget that he’s been on the show as long as he has. With the departure of some of the other “bigger” names on the cast we could see him rise to a more prominent position. But he’s been on the show for 9 years and might get the itch to pack up shop.
Characters we’d miss if he left: Jimmy MacMillan (the Rent is Too Damn High), Deandre Cole (What Up With That?), Oscar Rogers (Fix it!), Lorenzo McIntosh (Scared Straight), and Charles Barkley.
Characters we wouldn’t: DJ Dynasty Handbag (Deep House Dish)
Years on Cast: 7
Jason could be the dark horse departing. He’s had a strong 2011 in areas outside of SNL, starring in two big comedy movies (Horrible Bosses, Hall Pass), hosted the MTV Movie Awards and has a large role in the upcoming season of Eastbound & Down. Though he’s a very key player on SNL, he’s never had the one character or sketch that rocketed him to the top. Rather just solid all-around performances. Jason Sudeikis might just be the guy that has a bigger career after SNL than he did on on the show.
Characters we’d miss if he left: Joe Biden, DJ Supersoak (Kickspit Underground Music festival), Dancer (What Up With That?), and The Devil (Weekend Update)
Characters we wouldn’t: Tommy the DJ (Bongo’s Strip Club) and Mitt Romney
Years on Cast: 10
Ten years is a very long time to last anywhere and while he’s still not the longest-running cast member (ahem, Daryl Hammond) Armisen appears to be showing up less and less on the show. And stretching into other projects like Portlandia. He also seems to be the most connected and willing to collaborate with others (could date back to his former careers as a musician and Blue Man Group-er) which means developing other projects might be intriguing to him at this stage in his career.
Characters we’d miss if he left: Gov. Patterson (Weekend Update), Garth (Kat & Garth), and Steve Jobs
Characters we wouldn’t: Roger Brush, Manuel Ortiz (The Manuel Ortiz Show), and Barrack Obama
Years on Cast: 2
Unfortunately Jay Pharoah would be our pick for the departing featured player if there were to be one. Not because we don’t think he’s a talented guy, he’s extremely talented. But the question seems to still be how to properly use him in sketches where he wasn’t doing an impression of someone famous. Who knows, if even one of the male regulars mentioned above departs, that question might get answered very quickly and Jay could be utilized very quickly to fill in some gaps and live up to the breakout star status some have hailed him as.
Characters we’d miss if he left: Denzel Washington, Jay-Z, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, and Will Smith
Characters we wouldn’t: We haven’t really seen any yet.
Well, those are our thoughts, what are yours? Sound off in the comments.