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More SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE Cast Shake Ups

Coming a day after Brooks Wheelan tweeted about being fired from Saturday Night Live, Deadline is reporting that both Noël Wells and John Milhiser will not be returning to the series for its 40th season either. The article is also confirming what most had speculated about Nasim Pedrad officially leaving the show to join Mulaney, a sitcom from former SNL writer John Mulaney, set to make its debut this fall on Fox.

The article also makes mention of Michael Patrick O’Brien’s future on the show being unclear. O’Brien had written on SNL for four years before joining the cast as a featured player in the 39th season. It has not been confirmed if he will continue to stay in front of the camera or if he will return to his writing duties exclusively.

I am unapologetically still a fan of Saturday Night Live and thought there was a lot to enjoy in throughout the tumultuous 2013-14 season. That being said, it did become clear that a lot of the players who will not be returning had failed to make their mark in their debut season. While SNL patriarch Lorne Michaels is making alterations to the cast, I also really and truly hope that he reconsiders the two people sitting behind the “Weekend Update” desk. I love Cecily Strong and think she’s wildly talented (good lord I miss her “Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With at a Party” character) but she has yet to have an easy “Update” segment even when Seth Meyers was still on the show. As lovely as she and her co-anchor (and head writer) Colin Jost seem to be, they have zero chemistry. My recommendation would be to switch these things up ASAP. “Update” used to be one of the most consistently funny parts of the show and has become a real weak point since losing Meyers to Late Night in the middle of last season.

What do you all think? Do you still enjoy SNL? Are you surprised at the departures that have been announced over the last few days? Tell us in the comments section!

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48 comments

  • I was actually a fan of Noel Wells before her SNL tenure. I was really hoping she’d have a chance to make a mark. Alas, as long as we can keep Beck Bennett.

  • I still love SNL. I agree with the opinions here, though…the departing cast members (other than Pedrad) really never found their voices or stood out in any way. I’m also disappointed with the WU anchors, and I think Cecily Strong would be better used as returning characters. I hope they get things straightened out for the fall. 

  • I love SNL but I think Cecily is better playing characters than doing update. Why would they risk having to get rid of her great bits ?? duh, and they have tried to balance it by having her in some of the other show but I feel like her talent is not shining behind the desk, but I’m sure someone is perfect of it. Try one person again, or 2 guys. And I LOVE GIRLS but, maybe it will give it a different vibe.

  • No surprise so far with those that are leaving SNL. None really made much of a mark all season long. I agree with most who have commented so far that Colin Jost is wrong for the update desk. Seemed like he never really felt all that comfortable in that role. I like the Beck Bennett idea for the Update desk that someone else mentioned here. Of the remaining cast he might be a pretty good fit.

    • I didnt read ur comment before I wrote mine, but I think we are on to something BIG TIME w/ Bennett being the next ‘Update’ superstar.  He’s been underused so far, but he makes the most out of the small roles he’s given.  He’s got a bright future!!

  • I’m not really shocked, the cast was getting too large and unwieldy.  As much as they try I think it would have been really hard for any of them to find their voice given the number of voices trying to be found.  That said, every one of them was pretty darn talented and serviceable cast members.  I’m sure they’ll go on to great things. 

  • I really love SNL, and I’m hoping they can hit a new stride next season. This last year was really rough, especially when Seth Meyers left. Cecily is alright as the anchor of Weekend Update, but Colon has to go. He just isn’t right for the part. A completely new team would be good, or even a new solo anchor could be great. 

  • I’m sorry to see the three new kids go. Each I think has great potential but snl isn’t the best fit for a lot of comics.
    I totally agree about update. It’s so tame and bland, I honestly think it was pretty weak when meyers did it. Bring back Norm MacDonald. Or someone like him. Update needs it’s own edgy voice and face (and fewer dimples).

    • I felt the Brooks Wheelan would have been PERFECT for the host of Weekend Update.  He had that Norm MacDonald vibe about him.  Sorry to him go, as well as Nasim.  The other two don’t surprise me gone either.

  • I majorly agree about the Weekend Update!  Definitely has not been nearly as good without Seth Meyer!  The chemistry isn’t there, as well as I feel the timing feels much more forced. 

  • Seth, to me, always fit into the irritating characters, and his newscasts were comic, if not all comfortable.  Colin would have fit into the clean-cut persona I was seeing. Cecily shouldn’t fear going a little over the top like Tina or Amy or her other signature characters.

  • I’ll watch SNL, probably forever.  Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it needs work.  But they are there every week trying to make us laugh as we sit on the couch thinking we are funnier.  We’re not.

  • I totally agree that the Weekend Update desk has dropped in quality.  I could maybe forgive Cecily Strong when she first started out, but Colin Jost a charisma vacuum.  I had really wanted to see Jay Pharoah in that role, and while I would still like to see him there, I think Kate McKinnon could probably step up and help Cecily Strong along.  (I think that’s the problem with SNL this season.  Everyone is green and the veteran players aren’t stand-outs themselves, so there isn’t anyone to help the newbies along anymore.)  

  • I too love Cecily but not on update.  But I have mostly given up on SNL.  I know in asking for a lot but in the Carvey, Hartman era they had almost a full show of great sketches. Then at the end a few experimental ones featuring new guys that are now all huge stars. Now it’s more like 2 and a half good bits and the rest is watchable.  These are funny comedians,I don’t know why the show is so bland.  

  • Not surprised with John Milhiser and Brooks Wheelan leaving, they had pretty minimal on-screen time. But I’m surprised that Noel was also let go, she had potential as an impressionist. And I will miss Nasim but I’m sure she’ll go on to do great things! Also, Beck and Kyle were some of the best additions to the SNL cast last year (Sasheer too, but I need/want to see more of her). Colin hasn’t got the hang of Weekend Update, willing to give him another half season to test the waters and improve chemistry though

    • I was surprised they didn’t ask Mulaney to take the desk a couple of years ago after learning Meyers was leaving. I agree with other commenters: the Update desk needs a change, because Strong and (particularly) Jost aren’t too impressive. 

  • I too am an unapologetic fan, having watched the first episode live and making SNL a ritual for many years. Seth Meyers ran with the ball when Tina Fey left. No one picked up the ball when Meyers left. I saw it almost immediately. I hope they get through this. Lorne is getting old. If he retires it’s over.

  • Are you kidding? Cecily Strong is PERFECT for Update! From her very first one she nailed it. She’s carrying on where Amy Poehler left off. It’s clear that she was handpicked to take over as anchor. You’re delusional if you think otherwise.

    • I think Weird Al needs to add a new verse to “Word Crimes” that points out that “having a different opinion” is not the definition of “delusional”.  That seems to be a mistake a lot of people are making these days.

  • Great points about ‘Update’,’ I couldnt agree more!!  I think Beck Bennett, who is obviously just starting to get used to the show’s format, is coming into his own and that ‘Update’ could be a perfect fit for him!!

  • I too am loyal to SNL and have been from the first shows – even though I was too young to be up that late!  I wish NBC had the stones to say to Lorne Michaels, “Thank you … you are a GOD … you saved the network more than once … now please retire” and give the show to someone like Seth MacFarlane or the South Park guys or Whitney Cummings who could take it to the cutting edge of comedy again. It has become to rote, too pat and too safe.  What the Not Ready for Prime Time Players did was revolutionary and out there.  That spirit is gone and replaced by lackluster safe bits with the occasional shock value sketch.  Once a year (usually the Timberlake show) we get a full show of great stuff.  But mostly what we have now is staid and rehashing past glory.