Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg have already confirmed their exit from the late night sketch comedy staple Saturday Night Live, while Jason Sudeikis is also mulling over his departure. Now comes word that another player won't be returning.
Splitsider is reporting that Abby Elliott - daughter of former SNL cast member and recurring How I Met Your Mother guest star Chris Elliott - will not be returning to Studio 8H for the 38th season. Elliott made the announcement herself, but nothing official has come from producer Lorne Michaels or NBC.
The comedienne joined the cast in the middle of the 2008-2009 season as a featured player after Amy Poehler left the show in November. In 2010, Elliott and Bobby Moynihan were promoted to series regulars, something that hadn't happened since the 2006-2007 season. Ironically enough, that series of promotions included Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, and Jason Sudeikis (along with Bill Hader).
With the departure of Elliott, the late night sketch series loses some decent characters like Rachel Maddow, Zooey Deschanel, and one of the annoying Kardashian sisters. However, it's difficult to recall any popular original characters, which might be why Elliot is looking elsewhere for work.
Here's Abby Elliott doing a stellar job in the recurring sketch Bein' Quirky with Zooey Deschanel:
Elliott's departure isn't all that surprising, considering there was a chance that the series Ben Fox is My Manny would take her away from SNL if it got picked up (unfortunately for her, it didn't). The comedienne was once in "serious jeopardy” of not being asked back to the show before the 2010-11 season began. In the end, only Jenny Slate was asked to leave. Some speculated that Elliott dating Fred Armisen at the time helped her to stick around, but it's not clear why she seems to be leaving again two years later.
Saturday Night Live serves as a fine jumping off point for comedic actors to launch more lucrative film and TV careers, and players coming and going is just a part of the tradition. However, with Wiig, Samberg, likely Sudeikis, and now Elliott leaving the show, this seems to be the biggest loss of high profile talent at one time in the history of the show. Does this mean we'll hear of some new cast members stepping up to try and fill the shoes of these departed comedians? It's likely that NBC will make an official announcement regarding SNL as the season premiere gets closer.
The 38th season Saturday Night Live premieres September 15th.