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How soon till they get accused of tokenism? This was ridiculous to begin with, they should have never let themselves get into this situation in the first place.

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I agree, and I think that doing these auditions only makes them look worse. Some people are going to constantly scrutinize the new cast member for being hired just to make the show look better. It won't matter if she's amazing, she's always going to be the token hire in some peoples eyes. I almost wish they had just done it in the next season, or never have gotten themselves in the position in the first place obviously. 

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They're also hiring two African-American female writers, LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, which may prove even more significant in the long run.

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I agree, and I think that doing these auditions only makes them look worse. Some people are going to constantly scrutinize the new cast member for being hired just to make the show look better. It won't matter if she's amazing, she's always going to be the token hire in some peoples eyes. I almost wish they had just done it in the next season, or never have gotten themselves in the position in the first place obviously. 

Well now that I've had some time to think about it, and since it turned out that she was an outstanding addition, I'm viewing this simply as a correction to a mistake.

 

And as long as they don't repeat the mistake again any time soon, I'll very likely not remember the circumstances of how Sasheer was hired.

 

I wonder who stays and who goes before next season? Are we due to lose any veterans?

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So, starting this topic for discussion of the SNL cast; current cast, cast change speculation, past cast, and whatever!

 

Posting the cast at the end of the 2013-14 season here, and feel free to riff on that!

 

Cast member/Year started

Kenan Thompson/2003
Bobby Moynihan/2008
Vanessa Bayer/2010
Taran Killam/2010
Jay Pharoah/2010
Kate McKinnon/2012
Aidy Bryant/2012
Cecily Strong/2012
Beck Bennett/2013
Kyle Mooney/2013

Sasheer Zamata/2014

Colin Jost/2014

 

Past Cast Members

Nasim Pedrad/2009-2014

John Milhiser/2013-2014

Noël Wells/2013-2014
Brooks Wheelan/2013-2014

Mike O'Brien/2013-2014

Edited by stacey · Reason: Updating Cast List

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I've always loved Kenan, since his Nickelodeon days. I hadn't realized he's been on SNL since 2003 though! Seems like if anyone were going to be on their way out it would be him. 11 years is quite a while for SNL.

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 Keenan has said he won't leave until they make him.  He said he realizes there aren't many opportunities after SNL.  

 

 Nasim is almost a given since her show was picked up, which is too bad.  I like her.

 

 It seems like there's two routes they can go next year:  essentially gut the cast like they did in season 21 or just make a few tweaks.   In the former scenario, I'd think Keenan, Bobby, Taran, Jay, Kate and Ceicly return.  Maybe Beck or Sasheer as well.   In the latter, I think Milhiser is out (this is practically a given), Brooks is out (slim chance Noel might be out too, slimmer chance she's out instead of him) and O'Brien goes back to the writers room but still pops up in digital shorts he writes.

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Oh I can't imagine any scenario  where they get rid of  Sasheer.

 

Talk about a PR nightmare.

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Collapsed the discussion about SNL announcing they were hiring an African American woman with the cast discussion into this one thread.

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The more Kenan stays on, the more he looks out of place. The fact that the next "oldest" cast member is Bobby speaks volumes, at least to me. I know their first seasons are only five years apart, but still, to me they belong to two separate eras.

 

I get show business is tough and it's probably hard to leave a steady job when you don't see yourself landing another one very easily. But I said this over on TWoP...SNL is not the place to park your butt for the majority of your career. There are plenty of people who have left SNL and not found very much work. Yeah it sucks, and I get he's been doing this for pretty much his whole life, but the entertainment industry is not the place to be if a constant stream of income is a priority.

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But Lorne loves Kenan. He really, really loves him. More than Seth.

 

A few years ago, Howard Stern aired a 25-hour documentary series called "SNL on Stern" featuring all his interviews with SNL cast members over the years, sprinkled with Lorne Michaels' fresh commentary. And Lorne said himself, he loves Kenan. He absolutely adores him. Other cast members say Kenan is the only cast member that consistently cracks him up.

 

I can't imagine Lorne letting him go out in the wild to fend for himself, unless it's a sure thing.

 

Look at the other cast members who've stayed for a long time in recent years.

 

Fred Armisen (2002-2013) is now on the Lorne Michaels-produced Portlandia and Lorne-produced Late Night (and it was Lorne who came up with the idea of him being Seth's bandleader!).

 

And of course, there is Seth Meyers, the poster boy for sticking around too long.

 

Anyways, I hope Lorne shakes up the cast. But I doubt he will.

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Well I wouldn't mind Lorne being the executive producer of a project that helps Kenan move on. Idk about Fred, but I think it was a little different with Seth and how long he stayed on. This is just speculation on my part, but I got the feeling that it was planned for awhile that he'd take over Late Night, and that they were basically just treading water until Jay Leno finally stepped down.

 

As for next year, I'll be shocked if we see John or Noel again. I go back and forth on Mike O'Brien but I think in the end I wouldn't mind him staying on as a cast member. Brooks can go, honestly, or they can just move him to the writers' room.

 

I'm really going to miss Nasim (I figure it's a given that she's gone).

 

And I'm still of the mind that they should take a year off from hiring newbies. They still haven't found their groove with the new people that they already have, I don't see how adding any more would be beneficial.

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The more Kenan stays on, the more he looks out of place. The fact that the next "oldest" cast member is Bobby speaks volumes, at least to me. I know their first seasons are only five years apart, but still, to me they belong to two separate eras.

 

 

I agree.  I think he's long past his use by date.   I don't see that he added that much to this last season.  Even all his reaction shots have run a little dry for me because I feel like I've seen them a thousand times over.

 

The featured player who I thought was really starting to blossom right at the end was Kyle. and I don't mean just in his Good Neighbor shorts.  In the finale, he stole that camp sketch as the six year old kid going away.  He's got a quirky Will Forte-ish vibe to him.  Maybe that's why he works so well with Beck, who reminds me some of Jason.

 

Mike O'Brien is the one who works well in pre-taped bits, but not so much in live sketches.

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I agree that Kenan is probably the most ready to move on due to age (though he may not want to) and Nasim seems most likely to depart due to having another project lined up (for the record I think she'll stay on the show for the first few months to see whether Mulaney gets a full season order).

 

If those two were to leave it would help to work on the cast size issue. However, it won't help the diversity issue.

 

I normally don't have an issue with cast diversity on a show, since they'll tend to reflect actual demographics of the situation, and I care more about the show being funny.

 

However for the broad sketch nature of SNL having a diverse cast is a big leg up because it gives you more options on what you can do, unless you're going to dress people up as other cultures as they've done previously. However, the PC nature of things these days has really trended away from that ever being a good idea. Last Week Tonight had a whole segment on it a few weeks back.

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The more Kenan stays on, the more he looks out of place. The fact that the next "oldest" cast member is Bobby speaks volumes, at least to me. I know their first seasons are only five years apart, but still, to me they belong to two separate eras.

I know intellectually that Keenan should move on, but I just have such a soft spot for him. I'm probably showing my age here, but I grew up with him on All That (as well as Keenan and Kel), so since about the age of 9, I've seen him consistently doing sketch comedy on tv. Which should make me tired of him, but for some reason, it's just the opposite - I like seeing someone "make good" if you will.

I feel a little bad for the newbies this year - the cast was just so bloated that many of them barely got an opportunity to make any impression. I feel the worst for John Milsner and Brooks. I do wish that Tim Robinson had gotten another season in the cast as opposed to kicking him back to the writers room, because I actually thought he was really funny. That "it's a z-shirt!" sketch from last season never fails to crack me up.

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One thing to appreciate about Kenan is his versatility. He can be funny if the sketch relies upon his race for its humor, and he can be funny if it doesn't at all. I love Jay Pharoah--he has made me crack up at various times--but I'm hard-pressed to think of one character he's played that didn't somehow depend on his being black in order for the character to make sense. He is versatile in that he can play a range of black characters, but Kenan is versatile in that he can play a range of characters, period.

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I do agree with you on that point, Milburn Stone. One serious downside to losing both Nasim and Kenan would be that of the four PoCs, they are the ones that regularly play characters that transcend race. I don't know what race Shallon or Bedelia are supposed to be, and it doesn't matter for what their characters do.

 

I would really like it if Sasheer and Jay could be given parts to play that do not depend on race. I mean, would we have seen Sasheer as much as we did if Scandal didn't exist, if Donald Sterling hadn't been outted, if the first lady wasn't black, or if Solange hadn't freaked out on Jay Z? They are both teetering dangerously close to the edge of tokenism and I think that's unfortunate.

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Man, I guess I'm a complete negative Nancy, because I just don't find Kenan funny at all. I was a little too old for All That and Kenan and Kel, but I remember him fondly from The Mighty Ducks! 

 

Jay's Kanye consistently makes me laugh; I can't think of another character of Kenan's that I laugh at.

I do, however, agree with him being able to play outside of his race. 

 

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But Jay's skill set is pretty much being an impressionist.  That's what he does, so I think that tilts things just a bit. He basically serves the same function that Darrell Hammond did on the show.  I just think he and Kenan are very different types of performers with different strengths.

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I would really like it if Sasheer and Jay could be given parts to play that do not depend on race. 

 

I loved when she sung the hook on Resolution, Revolution. I don't know if that depended on her being black though she definitely brought some soul to it.

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Couple random thoughts:

 

--Jenny Slate was on Kimmel a few days ago, and will be on Conan in a few days to promote her new film, which has gotten a lot of buzz. I wonder if she'll visit Seth, or Fallon.

 

--Who did Justin Timberlake like better, Jimmy Fallon or Andy Samberg?

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It would be ironic for her to be a guest on Fallon.  I believe in the summer before she got SNL, she played his assistant in an ongoing parody called 7th Floor West  for Fallon's Late Night. I believe it was that work that got her noticed for SNL.   I've never seen it said directly that Jimmy recommended her, but I have a feeling he did.

 

Back to the current cast beyond Beck, Kyle, and Sasheer, I would say probably at least one other of the featured players comes back, probably between Brooks and Noel.  I'm just not sure which one.   I bet Colin is promoted to the regular cast.  It's possible Beck could be too.  In fact, I think he would deserve it more, but that's probably doubtful.  They will probably promote him in tandem with Kyle, and I don't see them both getting promoted that quickly.    

 

 

ETA:  Oops, I always forget about Mike O'Brien.  That's complicated as well because he was a writer for years before they promoted him.  He's probably the fourth to come back for that very reason.  So the show can save face.  They can't very well move him back to the writer's room or even let him go without a lot of egg on the face there.

Edited by vb68

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This may totally shatter fans of this man, if this is the first place they see the news:

 

Tracy Morgan Critically Hurt in New Jersey Car Crash

 

As I type this there's conflicting reports about his current status (that Times report is older). 

 

NY Post: Tracy Morgan still ‘smiling’; ‘dozing’ truck driver charged

NY Daily News: Morgan's ex-wife Sabina told the New York Daily News that the comedian was "not in good shape."

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Of course, we're all pulling for Tracy. When I first heard the news, which was really early Saturday morning, I didn't really give it a 2nd thought. Then I remembered all the joy he's brought me.

 

And my Twitter feed has been blowing up with well wishes.

 

Chris Rock...

https://twitter.com/chrisrock/status/475366897828245504

 

 

Steve Martin...

https://twitter.com/SteveMartinToGo/status/475352371997212672

 

 

Conan...

https://twitter.com/ConanOBrien/status/475680721634603010

 

And many, many more.

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Of course, we're all pulling for Tracy. 

On some other forums I've seen some bitterness and unforgiving attitudes over those comedy routines he got in trouble for last year (mind you, routines that as ill advised as they were, really did seem to be legit if over the top attempts at comedy--and which he apologized for when the story broke).  Overall part of Tracy's appeal is how uncontained he seems, as well as how flawed.  So I never had any problems forgetting and forgiving those jokes (ditto for Gilbert Gottfried and his similar scandals).  You can tell when a comedian does out there jokes that seem to push racial or gender role or religious buttons, but fully intends it AS a button pushing, vs. stupid hacks (I keep returning to Jeff Dunham, who I've spoken about in several comedy related topics on the board) who have that kind of shit simply because they're lazy and want cheap yuck-yucks from racists and intolerant people.  Tracy is not one of the later kind of people. He fucked up, and admitted it.

 

James McNair, another comedian and friend of Morgan, died outright at this accident, BTW, so for all the attention being paid to Morgan (so far) living, at least a little should be paid to McNair not doing so.  And three other people were in that limo and badly injured too.

 

I wonder if Walmart (it was one of their truck drivers) is taking it on the chin with this (P.R. wise).

 

Hmm. "Tracy Morgan update: Walmart says it will take 'full responsibility' if their truck caused fatal crash"

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Nasim Pedrad says it's not likely that she will be on next season. We all knew it was possible, but this is the first time Nasim has commented. I'll miss her, but maybe this is a sign that Kim Kardashian will stop being "famous" soon. *crosses fingers*

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Man, I guess I'm a complete negative Nancy, because I just don't find Kenan funny at all. I was a little too old for All That and Kenan and Kel, but I remember him fondly from The Mighty Ducks! 

 

Jay's Kanye consistently makes me laugh; I can't think of another character of Kenan's that I laugh at.

I do, however, agree with him being able to play outside of his race. 

 

I think there is a generational thing with Keenan. I too grew up on Keenan. I was 10 when All That started. He was my favorite on that show. I find his style genuinely funny, but it could be out of loyalty or that he and Justin Timberlake (on the MMC) were my intro to sketch comedy probably before SNL.

 

 

On another note. I'm holding my breathe for good news about Tracy.

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What I want to know is if Nasim will return if/when Mulaney gets canceled. I read that Mulaney was the worst received of Fox's new shows at Upfronts. Also, Fox's Entertainment president Kevin Reilly, who saved Mulaney after it was rejected by NBC, was just ousted. (Reilly is/was known for being loyal to shows/actors. He stuck by Mindy Kaling and Andy Samberg despite their low ratings.)

Edited by nowandlater

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I would really doubt it.  Once a cast member leaves, they usually don't return to the cast.  I know Chris Parnell returned, but that seems more like an exception than the rule. (Granted sometimes they do just pop up a lot, like Fred this past season, but Nasim doesn't seem like the type to do that.)

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The latest news appears to be that Tracy's leg was almost amputated, but he was apparently awake and aware enough (that in of itself is good news) to argue against it.  That said--ask Don Rickles lately--a bum leg makes stand up comedy hard.  At best I imagine this means that even after a recovery period, we could be seeing a lot less of Tracy Morgan.

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I'll miss her, but maybe this is a sign that Kim Kardashian will stop being "famous" soon. *crosses fingers*

 

I totally had the exact same thought. Life imitating art and all that good stuff.

 

I too would be surprised if she returned as a contract cast member if Mulaney doesn't work out. I like her a lot, and think she's talented enough to find something else.

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I would really doubt it.  Once a cast member leaves, they usually don't return to the cast.  I know Chris Parnell returned, but that seems more like an exception than the rule. (Granted sometimes they do just pop up a lot, like Fred this past season, but Nasim doesn't seem like the type to do that.)

Maybe she's hoping to be the next Maya Rudolph (note: Maya Rudolph kind of annoys me).

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I would really doubt it.  Once a cast member leaves, they usually don't return to the cast.  I know Chris Parnell returned, but that seems more like an exception than the rule. (Granted sometimes they do just pop up a lot, like Fred this past season, but Nasim doesn't seem like the type to do that.)

 

Which is maybe why they are being so cagey about Nasim officially leaving. Maybe Lorne won't officially say she's gone until Mulaney is picked up for a full season. Perhaps she'll be on part time next year.

 

I mean, don't cast members officially leave SNL when their pilots are picked up?

 

In this case, it's unusual since Lorne is her boss on both shows.

 

She signed the 7-year contract, right? Does being on Mulaney totally void that contract?

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She signed the 7-year contract, right? Does being on Mulaney totally void that contract?

 

Maybe the contract is with Broadway Video, rather than NBC? In which case nothing needs to be voided?

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Which is maybe why they are being so cagey about Nasim officially leaving. Maybe Lorne won't officially say she's gone until Mulaney is picked up for a full season. Perhaps she'll be on part time next year.

 

 

I don't think anybody is deliberately being cagey about it.  These things don't always have an automatic timetable, especially considering that I believe Lorne always goes on vacation for about a month when the season wraps up.  I just don't think they started staffing for next season yet.  And I took Nasim's statement as basically a confirmation.

 

Doesn't Mulaney have an order for 16 episodes?   That's more than a season for cable shows.  She'll be busy way into the Fall.

 

ETA:  Looks like  the order is for ten more in addition to six they already shot.  I just remembered seeing the headline for 16 episodes and thinking that sealed the deal for Nasim to leave.

Edited by vb68
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ETA:  Looks like  the order is for ten more in addition to six they already shot.  I just remembered seeing the headline for 16 episodes and thinking that sealed the deal for Nasim to leave.

 

 

Exactly.  And she even said "I'm living and working in LA now".  If that's not confirmation, I really don't know what is.

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SNL has this odd thing where certain people (especially writers, but sometimes just reoccurring visitors who aren't hosts) can get in bits but not actually be part of the on-air cast. Discuss that phenomenon and those folks.

 

Al Franken is probably the best known of these (he actually was up for the regular on-air Weekend Update role that went to Norm MacDonald, and that's why he left SNL the second time).  We all know of course, the Stuart Smalley bits.  

 

 

There's also Jack Handy (that's actually Handy's voice on the Deep Thoughts segments, where it's not Phil Hartman).

 

 

I know there are more than these two though (especially if we go outside of show writers).  

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George (Norm!) Wendt recently just brought back the Super Fans for an ad campaign.

 

My favorite though of course is John Goodman as Linda Tripp in the '90s.  Oh God was that golden. 

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How about the "eh, they've been on so many times they're pretty much castmembers" people like Alec Baldwin, Justin Timberlake and yes, Steve Martin.

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One of the more obscure ones might be A. Whitney Brown who use to do regular segments on Dennis Miller's Update.  I remember he use to do lots of jokes about how high schoolers would be all pumped up to go kick ass in Iran or wherever as long as they didn't have to find it on a map.

Edited by vb68
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I was on the fence if we include Robert Smigel until I thought about it a bit. If Jack Handy works for this list, then by definition Smigel would have to.  In actuality both Deep Thoughts and TV Funhouse were canned segments.  And you didn't actually SEE either man.  But they did voice acting, and the important thing is that they did them frequently for the show, for years, and on top of that they both worked for SNL in other capacities.

 

Then I really called myself an idiot, because I recalled that if we include Wendt (who is on this list NOT because he did Superfans when he hosted, but because he did it often when he WASN'T hosting), then Smigel would ALSO have to qualify on that basis, because Smigel was IN those skits as one of them (Carl).  Also remember when SNL tried to recreate the magic of Belushi and Ackroyd's "No Coke! Pepsi!" Diner skits with the "You Like-a the Juice?" Diner skits?  Smigel was in those. - http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/d1053830d7/you-like-the-juice-juice-is-good


In fact, looking on Wikipedia, it reminded me (I recall it now) that Smigel also did on-air impressions, multiple-times, of both Alan Dershowitz and Woody Allen.

Edited by Kromm
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You beat me to it!  

 

In past cast nominations, Kristen was nominated for Spoils of Babylon, and Jimmy and Tina got nominated for their hosting roles (as did Louis CK and Melissa McCarthy)

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Okay now I want Kate McKinnon to bring back her Angela Merkel impression and bragging in the premiere. "Ve vun! Ve have vun zee Vorld Cup!" 

Edited by VCRTracking
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Kate and Aidy also got another nomination for writing the music for "Twin Bed".   I think that's awesome.  All in all the show got the most noms of anything on Broadcast TV, which makes me chuckle.  The cast is really underrated right now.  I wish Taran had gotten nominated too.

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