Fred Armisen Leaving ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Jason Sudeikis May Follow

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fredarmisen jasonsudeikis knife Fred Armisen Leaving Saturday Night Live, Jason Sudeikis May Follow

Next year sounds like it’s going to be very difficult for Lorne Michaels and his staple late night sketch series Saturday Night Live. Bill Hader just recently announced his departure from the series after the season finale this weekend with host Ben Affleck – but he’s not the only one leaving.

When news of Hader’s departure hit, at the time, longtime cast members Fred Armisen and Jason Sudeikis had not yet decided if they were going to come back for another season. Now, according to a report, Armisen has decided that he will leave the show after 11 seasons as a cast member, and Sudeikis is “probably” leaving the show as well.

The New York Post has an unnamed source at NBC with this information, and honestly, it’s not all that surprising. In the case of Sudeikis, the comedian almost left the series after last season, but opted to stick around to fill the shoes of then presidential candidate Mitt Romney. As for Armisen, he’s been on the cusp of leaving, mostly because of his success with the IFC series Portlandia.

Another issue for SNL is the departure of Seth Meyers next year. Thankfully, Meyers will stick around through the first half of next season and then head out for his new gig hosting Late Night on NBC when Jimmy Fallon takes over The Tonight Show.

kenanthompson snlcreditphoto Fred Armisen Leaving Saturday Night Live, Jason Sudeikis May Follow

So what does this mean for SNL?

Well, it will likely be one of those challenging years when Michaels attempts to put together another great roster of rising comedic talent. If Armisen and Sudeikis leave, Kenan Thompson will be the most senior member of the cast with 10 seasons under his belt, followed by Bobby Moynihan who joined the cast in 2008. The rest of the cast has only been on board a few seasons, and many have not become viral sensations or powerhouse players with many memorable characters to call their own.

The good news is that Michaels has an uncanny eye for talent. Names that start out on SNL usually take some time to become well-known to audiences, and some don’t even find their footing until after they’ve come and gone from the series.  But when you look at some of the top comedic talent today, both on film and TV, many of the bigger names started off at SNL, whether they were cast members or writers. This includes Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Kristen Wiig, and those are just the recent names.

If Michaels is going to salvage the show, the best option is to make John Mulaney the head writer. He’s the perfect replacement for Meyers, and it would even make sense to have him inherit the Weekend Update desk. The young comedian has appeared on the segment before, and there’s no other current cast member who can fill Meyers’ shoes so well. Plus, his pilot was not picked up by NBC, so it would be a great fallback.

As for filling out the rest of the cast, we’ll see who Michaels pulls from the usual stomping grounds of comedy clubs and improv groups in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

Still, this could be the most crippling blow to the show since 1995 when Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Kevin Nealon, Jay Mohr and Chris Elliott left the show, just a year after Phil Hartman and Rob Schneider had left the series. Some people think this kind of changing of the guard could be the time when Saturday Night Live fails spectacularly, but I’d love to see the show thrive in spite of these recent cast departures.

_____

We’ll see what happens over the summer. In the meantime, the season finale of Saturday Night Live airs May 18th @11:30pm on NBC.

Source: The New York Post

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TAGS: saturday night live

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  1. SNL has been pretty weak for the last several years. They need to find new talent, and fast. I think Adam Devine from Workaholics would be a great addition if he can balance both. Also, Chris D’Elia from recently cancelled Whitney.

    • “Pretty weak” is a huge understatement. It’s been downright unfunny… practically unwatchable.

      • Every generation thinks the current one was bad because they grew up with the previous.

        That being said, yes, there have been some spectacularly bad skits.

  2. John Mulaney doesn’t write for SNL anymore…

    • Also, this isn’t a big deal. They have a really strong cast, still. When Farley and those guys left, their final season was constantly referred to as “Saturday Night Dead”. BEFORE they left the show. Chris Elliot and Jay Mohr were not exactly popular at their time, either. (refer to ‘Gasping for Airtime’) It was the season after they left (’95-’96) that SNL began to fall into people’s good graces again. This season has been one of the best in a long time and it’s because of breath of fresh air they brought in with their new featured players, Colin Jost head writing WITH Seth Meyers, AND the hiring of Josh Patten and Neil Casey to their writing staff.

      This won’t be tough for them at all. It won’t even be the “same old, same old”. They’re killing it. And the exit of these legends is actually just an opportunity for these new guys/gals to get some airtime.

      Tim Robinson is a genius, watch for him. He’s about to blow up.

      • A few more things:

        Let’s not forget the cast is standing at 14. That’s not the BIGGEST cast they’ve had, but it’s certainly close. Which was partially what contributed the problem of the “Saturday Night Dead” era. Cast members fighting to get on sketches didn’t exactly create a light mood around the studio. Say if Sudeikis leaves too, then that’s 4 in total that will be leaving, giving us 9 members. Great! The first five years was essentially 7 cast members, give or take your unconventional-at-the-time featured players.

        Also, guys in the comments, stop suggesting people that have already ‘made it’. O’Dowd, Delia, and all of those guys are fine comedians, but the great thing about SNL is its addition of unknown comedians who then prove to us why they SHOULD be known.

        If we’re going to talk about people who make it to the Weekend Update desk, I’d wager it being a current writer. If you were to tell me a cast member was getting the job (who knows, maybe it’ll be two again?), I’d guess Nasim Pedrad. Her first few years at SNL has been remarkably similar to Seth Meyers. Playing a lot of impressions that aren’t very recurrent, very few characters, yet has still been kept around by Lorne because he sees something in them. Maybe she’s the Weekend Update host we deserve….AND the one we need right now. Plus, she’s a little cutie pie. I wanna kiss her face.

        Sorry for the word vomit, SNL makes my heart swell.

        • I disagree with nearly everything you just said. SNL’s sucked for the better part of a decade.

          • Sorry, that was uncool of me. But I do disagree with you.

  3. Id like to see chris odowd

  4. John Mulaney would be a great replacement for Seth. I have watched the show since about 2002 (I’m only 21) and I have seen the show get better and better in my opinion. The changing of the guards seems long overdue. The veterans are perfect, but it’s time to see Vanessa, Kate, Bobby and the rest of the cast to come into their own more profoundly. I can’t wait until September. A lot of people are gonna bash this show only because they don’t like the cast any longer, but I think they are wrong. I look forward to see who is gonna take the reigns next.

  5. It means nothing! The show has sucked since Dennis Miller, Dana Carvey and Mike Meyers left!

    • Yes, yes, SNL was only ever good that few years you liked it and hasn’t been good since… blah, blah, blah… ZZZZzzzzzzz…..

  6. It means nothing!

  7. The newer’ish cast members they have are some of their better players. Teran Killam, Cicely Strong, and Kate McKinnon are consistently strong. I think if they brought back John Mulaney, made him head writer and gave him weekend update, they’d be fine.

    Also, now is as good a time as any for a Kenan and Kel “Good Burger” reunion. Make it happen, Lorne!

    • Yes!!! Mulaney as Weedend Update correspondent would be perfect.

      They’re probably gonna give it to Killian or Strong though. Which i would be just fine with

  8. I love Sedeikis and Hader. I will be sad to see them both leave, but hopefully they will still show up in movies and tv instead of off into obscurity.

    Fred Armisen i dont really care for. I was ready for him to leave years ago.

  9. I didn’t start watching SNL until ’95 or maybe a little later just because of my age. Ive seen a lot of the older episodes via Netflix and Hulu and TBH I feel that the later of the 90′s to now is where it was really good. But everyone has their own style of comedy. A lot of these cast members that are leaving are just too busy to sit in a studio all week and film sketches while trying to make films/tv shows.

  10. If anyone needs to leave, it’s Kenan Thompson

  11. Did something happen behind the scenes that so many people leave at once? I don’t watch that show but I noticed that little trend in the news.

  12. I’m not sure why there is so much disdain for SNL by some of the people on this site. I’ve been watching the show since I was a kid- cut my teeth on Carvey, Hartman, Nealon and Meyers. I think SNL is one of those shows that has peaks and valleys but overall is very entertaining. ‘What’s up with That’ is fantastic. It’s fun to see who the next big star will be. Great show and I’ll be a lifelong fan.

  13. Lots of talent to choose from with Sudekis and Armisen leaving. No shortage of choice players. Now Terran, Bobby, Kennan, and Nasim can finally get their due after suffering through a lot of the lesser skits.

    Also, I’m a longtime fan, enthusiast, and consistent watcher of SNL and I have to say that John Mulaney will NOT get the gig. First off, his speech is sibilant and “normo” folks the show tries to pick up can’t get passed it. Second, did anyone see his one appearance on weekend update? Truly pathetic, no laughs, embarrassing, and… never again– even though they were trying to set it up as a recurring commentary similar to “Really?”… not gonna happen, and if it does, they’re taking a BIG step down… I personally would love to see Pharoah and Pedrad sit down at the desk together for next season (and this is based on no reasoning, whatsoever)…

    Anyway– bring back Anthony Michael Hall and Robert Downey Jr! (and yes this is as ridiculous as suggesting Odowd cut his yearly earnings by 150% and join the cast)… haaaaaaaaaaaa time for Lorne Michaels to clean up (you gon learn today)

  14. Bill Hader has been there awhile.

  15. Bring back Lovitz!

  16. Just finished watching the finale and I’m happy to say Hader, Armisen and Sudeikis went out on a high note.
    Sudeikis wasn’t in much but Hader and Armisen were great and the last sketch was an appropriate way for their SNL careers to end on.
    Actually, I think it’s worth noting that from start to finish this was a great episode. Every sketch hit it’s mark and the send off for Stefon was great. Heck even Kane West was great and I normally can’t stand Kane West

  17. Been watching the show since the 90s in reruns on comedy central. I started watching the live show around 2001 or so. Will ferrel left a hole the size antarctica since 2002/3, he also took adam mckay with him. To fill the void, tina fey and seth meyers stepped in. Both parties were excellent on weekend update, but often to the complete detriment of the rest of the show. It really seems like either they were too focused on their own segments or using the head writer thing as a stepping stone to their own careers. Hopefully we can go back to the good days of some random person handling weekend update and the head writer focusing only on the show. Last season was the best by far since will ferrel. A decade of horrid snl (the californians, christen wiig) is hopefully finally over.