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SNL: The Current Cast Discussion

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On 12/14/2020 at 1:56 AM, vb68 said:

I'm about 50/50 on this. In some ways it's accurate, but it's also harsh, especially for the first year players. I agree that Melissa has yet to really step up, and I have never understood why Alex seems to have such a hard time. I've mentioned before lately that I feel like I've seen everything Mikey has to offer.   I will say I'm not sure at all if this is the right season to read so much into audience reaction. 

I mostly take it as naive. I think some people have an idea that cast members can come in and kick ass and become a star, because of the few who are fortunate enough to do so. You have to have a lot of lucky breaks and also the right timing. Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks, Dana Carvey, etc. arrived during a near-total cast revamp. Tina Fey became Update anchor after a lackluster/middling Update era. Kristen Wiig arrived when one woman in the cast was leaving for another show and another was on maternity leave. Kate McKinnon arrived when Wiig was leaving and all the other women had middling roles or were about to be fired. Jason Sudeikis, Will Forte and Fred Armisen arrived when Will Ferrell had left and the main highlight of the male side was when Horatio Sanz and Jimmy Fallon were going to guffaw and snicker through more sketches. Andy Samberg and Bill Hader arrived when the cast was full of men who had stayed too long or had been completely wasted, or both. That doesn't mean they weren't all very strong and capable, but it means less obstacles were in their way. 

You don't hear as much about situations like Laraine Newman, where, when, according to that old Weingrad/Hill SNL book, when she fought for a part Gilda wanted, it strained their friendship, left Laraine extremely demoralized and withdrawn, and for years afterward, whenever Gilda would see that Laraine sketch on a repeat, she would call up the writer (they were good friends) and complain about it. Or the old New York article about how when Laura Kightlinger suggested ways to improve a sketch, the guys involved mocked and belittled her until she was reduced to tears. 

Presumably, the backstage situation is not that ugly now, but it's still a workplace, and in a workplace, the people who have power and popularity, are going to have the most say unless someone new has a connection that will put them ahead. That is rarely the case with new SNL players. I do think there are some mid-tier players who seemingly don't just know how to get their ideas across and have gotten lost in the shuffle, like Alex Moffat or Melissa Villasenor, but there are many others who are just never going to have the opportunity with the present setup to do more. And a reviewer assuming that they just aren't working hard enough baffles me. 

If reviewers really want to see new players or mid-tier players have more of a chance, then instead of assuming they just don't have the drive, the better idea would be to question why that would happen when you have week after week of interchangeable Kate McKinnon sketches, or, when she is there, interchangeable Kate McKinnon/Aidy Bryant sketches. Or even Cecily Strong sketches (although I think she has stepped back a little more in the last few seasons). Yet many of these sketches tend to be praised, pretty much every time, by some of the same reviewers who don't understand why the newer cast members continue to struggle. 

I also think it's questionable to use the lack of audience response this season to write off cast members, given the circumstances. It also feels very selective, given that Cecily had a sketch that basically bombed (the Santa sketch with Jason Bateman) on her return, yet she isn't mentioned in the review. I certainly wouldn't use that to write off Cecily, but I would say it shows that these people just aren't going to clap like seals the way an audience was likely to pre-pandemic. That will affect response to sketches for the rest of the season at the very least, I'm guessing.

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I do think the cast is too big. Maybe at this point it would be hard to pare it down, but I think the show would benefit from having fewer cast members.

That's definitely true, and it feels like we're right on the edge of a changeover.  Among the ladies Aidy, Kate, and Cecily all seem like they're about ready to head off into the post-SNL sunset.  That's a massive hole that needs to be filled, although I think Heidi and Chloe are in good shape to take the baton.  As for the guys, Beck and Kyle have been there the longest (this is their eighth season) but they're solid utility players, so it wouldn't be a huge loss if they left.  And I know Kenan has been there longer, but he's kind of in a special category.

And in any case, it all depends on what they want.  Darrell Hammond spent most of his tenure doing one or two impressions an episode and got a steady paycheck for 14 years, which isn't the worst thing in the world.  SNL does have an unfortunate history of taking talented performers and reducing them to one shtick (Fallon's a very good impressionist but ended up just snickering his way through sketches).

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8 hours ago, cambridgeguy said:

That's definitely true, and it feels like we're right on the edge of a changeover.  Among the ladies Aidy, Kate, and Cecily all seem like they're about ready to head off into the post-SNL sunset.  That's a massive hole that needs to be filled, although I think Heidi and Chloe are in good shape to take the baton.  As for the guys, Beck and Kyle have been there the longest (this is their eighth season) but they're solid utility players, so it wouldn't be a huge loss if they left.  And I know Kenan has been there longer, but he's kind of in a special category.

And in any case, it all depends on what they want.  Darrell Hammond spent most of his tenure doing one or two impressions an episode and got a steady paycheck for 14 years, which isn't the worst thing in the world.  SNL does have an unfortunate history of taking talented performers and reducing them to one shtick (Fallon's a very good impressionist but ended up just snickering his way through sketches).

 

          Actually, Kenan was there the Longest, but Kate Came Next and Then, Aidy And Cecily Came on the Show ! !Then, Beck And Kyle Came along Later !

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10 hours ago, Jody said:

Actually, Kenan was there the Longest, but Kate Came Next and Then, Aidy And Cecily Came on the Show ! !Then, Beck And Kyle Came along Later !

Yes, which is why I said I know Kenan has been there the longest and is in his own special category.

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1 hour ago, juno said:

Maybe Carrey figured it out or SNL finally did, either way I am grateful for this development.

Saturday Night Live: Jim Carrey Bows Out as President-Elect Joe Biden

https://tvline.com/2020/12/19/saturday-night-live-jim-carrey-exits-president-elect-joe-biden/

I find myself wondering if Jim was always planned as short-term, especially with his work schedule, but either way I'm glad he won't be there for four years (even though I didn't really hate his impression). Ideally the impression will now go to a cast member, but if it goes to someone who is already overused then I won't be able to feel as relieved. For instance, given how many times they've had Kate playing male politicians, I have a feeling they will put her in the role (or Pete, as they are the two 'stars' of this current cast from media attention, I'm guessing). I just have less than zero interest in seeing that happen. I hope they will give Alex Moffat a chance.

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On 12/18/2020 at 5:26 AM, cambridgeguy said:

Yes, which is why I said I know Kenan has been there the longest and is in his own special category.

 

      The thing is that you said Kyle And Beck were there the longest and I said that Kate came on the show and after Kate was Aidy And Cecily ! ! ! Then, Kyle and Beck came on the Show. Kyle and Beck were Not there the Longest !

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On 12/17/2020 at 11:46 AM, cambridgeguy said:

That's definitely true, and it feels like we're right on the edge of a changeover.  Among the ladies Aidy, Kate, and Cecily all seem like they're about ready to head off into the post-SNL sunset.  That's a massive hole that needs to be filled, although I think Heidi and Chloe are in good shape to take the baton.  As for the guys, Beck and Kyle have been there the longest (this is their eighth season) but they're solid utility players, so it wouldn't be a huge loss if they left.  And I know Kenan has been there longer, but he's kind of in a special category.

And in any case, it all depends on what they want.  Darrell Hammond spent most of his tenure doing one or two impressions an episode and got a steady paycheck for 14 years, which isn't the worst thing in the world.  SNL does have an unfortunate history of taking talented performers and reducing them to one shtick (Fallon's a very good impressionist but ended up just snickering his way through sketches).

I mostly like the cast, other than my frustration at Alex Moffat rarely getting roles and being fatigued with so much of Kate McKinnon, but it's a strong cast that can adapt to many types of comedy and dramedy. There's just something that feels off about seeing so many people who are constantly on the verge of leaving. It means the show has less room to breathe, and you don't get a sense of transition, or of people being able to move on or develop. There's always this question mark. I know that isn't entirely the show's fault, as I think a fair amount of the older cast would have left last season if not for COVID, but now it's another full season of waiting and wondering, particularly when you have a cast full of people who are so busy that they have to take breaks for weeks or even months. 

I'm hoping in the second half of the season the people who are planning to leave (presumably some combo of Kate, Aidy, Cecily, Kyle, Beck and Pete) will slowly phase out and let the newer cast members shine. 

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I will be shocked if Pete goes anywhere at this point. He finally seems like he's enjoying the show. And I think Beck and Kyle know they are never getting another gig this good or suited to their talents. I think they try to hang on.

I expect to see Sudeikis back as Biden at some point, maybe trading off with Woody Harrelson or someone else.  The only current cast member would really fit IMO is Mikey, and Meh.  Maybe Alex, but that would require the show throwing him a bone. 

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16 hours ago, vb68 said:

Maybe Alex, but that would require the show throwing him a bone. 

Well I was completely wrong about that. I really like Alex, so I hope he succeeds. I can't say I was overwhelmed by the impression, but it was just an introduction. I'm sure he will work on it, and it will evolve. 

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There are (or were) some 'lives' on SNL's Instagram page where Punkie took viewers on a tour around the studio, then she, Lauren and Andrew (separately) answered fan questions.

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I can't blame the new castmembers for not breaking out yet because this is absolutely the strangest possible year to be doing SNL.  Imagine dreaming all your life about being on SNL, getting cast, having all the usual pressure of adjusting to the job and trying to get material and airtime, and then all the additional COVID protocols that have changed the show environment.

The cast wouldn't be as big as it is if it wasn't for the pandemic, since I think they want enough people to be able to do a show if there's any kind of outbreak.  I haven't been paying close attention to who's there or who isn't every week, but I wonder if there's some kind of unofficial rotation of cast members so a few of the 20 (!) actors are held off the show as emergency fill-ins.

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I think I feel the worst for Lauren, who was clearly brought in as an Aidy replacement while Aidy was off shooting Shrill. The thing is, out of costume I don't even think they look that much alike. But something about the way they style her and the parts they give her are just so Aidy--there are a couple times where she's shown up and I thought she was Aidy for a second. How do you break out when even regular viewers keep getting you confused with another cast member?

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11 hours ago, OutOfTheQuestion said:

I can't blame the new castmembers for not breaking out yet because this is absolutely the strangest possible year to be doing SNL.  Imagine dreaming all your life about being on SNL, getting cast, having all the usual pressure of adjusting to the job and trying to get material and airtime, and then all the additional COVID protocols that have changed the show environment.

The cast wouldn't be as big as it is if it wasn't for the pandemic, since I think they want enough people to be able to do a show if there's any kind of outbreak.  I haven't been paying close attention to who's there or who isn't every week, but I wonder if there's some kind of unofficial rotation of cast members so a few of the 20 (!) actors are held off the show as emergency fill-ins.

Due to various people filming other projects, John Krasinski's episode was the first this season to have the full cast.

I mostly feel bad for the newest cast members in that they struggle to even get on the air as there are roles already filled with familiar faces. I do notice Andrew DIsmukes is starting to get into more and more of the small roles that Kyle or Pete would normally play, so that makes me wonder if they are leaving. 

9 hours ago, helenamonster said:

I think I feel the worst for Lauren, who was clearly brought in as an Aidy replacement while Aidy was off shooting Shrill. The thing is, out of costume I don't even think they look that much alike. But something about the way they style her and the parts they give her are just so Aidy--there are a couple times where she's shown up and I thought she was Aidy for a second. How do you break out when even regular viewers keep getting you confused with another cast member?

I think Lauren was originally meant to debut in the last episodes of season 45 - the last 5 episodes, maybe - but then with the pandemic they had to shut down and here we are. My guess is Aidy would have left last season if it had gone the normal way, and Lauren would be playing more of the roles that Aidy still plays. Right now it is worst of both worlds for Lauren. At least she got a piece on Update last night, which was OK, but she has a long way to go with so many people still not leaving yet. 

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Well one good thing is they have finally realized that Alex can can do more than "I'm Eric."   He really is pretty versatile, and I don't think we have seen everything yet like I'm increasingly feeling like we have with Mikey. 

15 hours ago, Pete Martell said:

I think Lauren was originally meant to debut in the last episodes of season 45 - the last 5 episodes, maybe - but then with the pandemic they had to shut down and here we are. My guess is Aidy would have left last season if it had gone the normal way, and Lauren would be playing more of the roles that Aidy still plays. Right now it is worst of both worlds for Lauren.

This is interesting. I do think they have pigeon toed Lauren into being the new Aidy.  It's not helpful. Also, on Aidy's end, her show Shrill is over as I have read, so she doesn't have a fall back option anymore. I still think it's unlikely that Kate, Aidy, and Cecily all leave en masse. they will probably stagger it with at least one staying for some period.

15 hours ago, Pete Martell said:

I do notice Andrew DIsmukes is starting to get into more and more of the small roles that Kyle or Pete would normally play, so that makes me wonder if they are leaving. 

I don't see them using Kyle or Pete any less though, especially Pete when he actually shows up. Heck, he played the lawyer in the opening. That wouldn't have happened a few years ago. I realize beck, Alex, and Mikey all had roles already, but I would had liked to see what Dismukes could had brought to it.   And assuming Kate is leaving soon, Pete is the other big gun supposedly bringing in viewers.

Kyle is still completely tied to Beck IMO. I'm convinced it's a package deal. And I think the show still sees Beck as valuable. He's more or less the male lead. And Kyle continues to get his spots. 

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5 hours ago, vb68 said:

I don't see them using Kyle or Pete any less though, especially Pete when he actually shows up. Heck, he played the lawyer in the opening. That wouldn't have happened a few years ago. I realize beck, Alex, and Mikey all had roles already, but I would had liked to see what Dismukes could had brought to it.   And assuming Kate is leaving soon, Pete is the other big gun supposedly bringing in viewers.

Kyle is still completely tied to Beck IMO. I'm convinced it's a package deal. And I think the show still sees Beck as valuable. He's more or less the male lead. And Kyle continues to get his spots. 

The main shift is stuff like that bully pre-tape John Krasinski did, or the teacher pre-tape in Kristen Wiig's episode. Andrew was in the type of role Kyle and Pete often played. 

Kyle and Beck don't seem to do much oncamera now (not compared to past years), but I do think they will leave at the same time. 

I agree that Lorne probably won't let 6-7 people leave at once, but I feel like the pandemic may have forced their hand. 

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In honor of Kenan's show premiering tonight, SNL's Youtube channel has put up a one-hour "Best Of Kenan Thompson" video. Given his tenure on the show, you could probably have a 2-3 hour video, but considering how rare this type of moment is (the last was for Amy Poehler back in 2009), it's still a nice tip of the hat to him.

Chris was also on Lilly Singh's show (there are two clips)

 

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Kenan did an Instagram Live with Bobby Moynihan.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CLpu3K0nQNk/?igshid=1ovi6q2nx1hsc

Chris Redd:

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/02/snl-and-kenan-standout-chris-redd-is-ready-to-get-all-the-jobs

https://www.radio.com/wogl/latest/vaccine-would-make-things-better-for-chris-redd

Jost was on Seth's show last night. There are two clips. The other clip talks more about current SNL and how difficult it is to be backstage now after the episodes (no parties, masks, etc.) but I'm posting this one because it's just so much fun (for me, anyway).

 

Edited by Pete Martell

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Colin took some goofy pills at the end there.

They talked about how they both get tested regularly and how they had recently got together in Seth's office and had hamburgers together, so I was wondering why Colin wasn't in the studio for the interview. He should had been right down the hall.   

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Kenan on Hot Ones:

A fashion video Bowen and Chloe recently made (also featuring Paris Hilton, who is, of course, best known for her own SNL appearance).

Jost on Ellen's show:

 

Edited by Pete Martell

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So just basing it on post-SNL success, the "Class of 2005" of Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and Andy Samberg is the best "Featured player" lineup ever:

D3htRg0UUAA8uMe.jpg.f2fa96a74933af9d5085250d6c3e39ca.jpg

 

Edited by VCRTracking
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I wonder if we will hear about anyone exiting in the next few weeks.

Whenever Kate officially leaves, I would think she gets a goodbye similar to Wiig's.

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4 hours ago, vb68 said:

I wonder if we will hear about anyone exiting in the next few weeks.

Whenever Kate officially leaves, I would think she gets a goodbye similar to Wiig's.

Usually if we hear I think we will hear several days before the finale. 

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https://deadline.com/2021/05/michael-che-snl-saturday-night-live-99-9-percent-sure-return-the-view-1234759240/

Michael Che suggests he will be back next season.

I can see where the show would be unsure about where to take Update without Jost and Che, but I hope they may at least replace them as headwriters as I think the show needs new blood on that front.

So far the only person I would say I strongly feel is leaving is Cecily, and then the rest is up in the air. Beyond Cecily I am also sort of thinking Beck and Kyle will leave...and there are always rumors about Kate. 

I just hope if it becomes a budget situation they may consider being willing to part with some of the long-term people who have shown all they can over some of the newer people who haven't had as much of a chance. 

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Apparently, Melissa posted and deleted a story on her Instagram that said she would be leaving and felt she deserved better. 

I like Melissa a lot (I know that isn't a universal opinion and I respect the reasons why), but she has been used erratically by the show for a long time, and frankly, I'm often surprised she has been kept on this long. I still wish she could try one more season, if they want to, but if she does leave I just hope she gets a bit of a sendoff. 

I guess we'll see what happens on Saturday. 

 

Edited by Pete Martell
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I like her, too. 

I'm not saying I want her or anything else in particular to leave, but I sometimes wish the cast were smaller, like in the beginning. 

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The writing has been on the wall for a long while now with Melissa. She's obviously  been unhappy, and that has unfortunately seeped out in the press a few times. I'm also surprised she's lasted this long. Lashing out doesn't usually work well with Lorne. But then again, Pete also did that, and then he and the show apparently hashed that all out to his satisfaction. Not sure what happened with Melissa or what's going on behind the scenes. But she has always felt like an outsider, and I agree that at this point a different venue would probably be best for her.

Waiting for news on Kate, Cecily, and Aidy. A little surprised Che seems to be coming back. 

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I missed Melissa's "I deserve better" story but I did catch the apology/explanation she posted yesterday (it should still be on her Insta story for a few more hours if anybody wants to see it).

Basically, she said she'd had a drink and was in her feelings, she shouldn't have done that, she's proud of her work on the show, etc. She did mention that it takes her awhile to hone her impressions, and I'm wondering if the pace of the show just doesn't jibe with her comedic process. I think there are a lot of issues with how the show is put together, but she's been there how many seasons now? It's unlikely to change to fit her needs anytime soon, so either get with the program or stop complaining.

I do think it's kind of crazy how many times she's publicly bellyached and still has a job there. Someone has to have talked to her about this by now, right? If not Lorne or another producer, then her management at least?

I think back to the Casey/Jenny/Michaela mess, three funny women who hustled extremely hard to get their stuff on air and were still dumped after a season, lest they outshine Kristen Wiig (I can't think of another reason they were all axed in such quick succession, and I no longer buy the "Casey's too fat" "Jenny said fuck on air" "Michaela didn't know her place" excuses). I'll always have a chip on my shoulder about that time, and I struggle to see what Melissa brings to the show that can handwave how much she dumps on it when more talented people have been let go for less.

It especially boggles knowing what a petty tyrant Lorne can be.

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16 hours ago, helenamonster said:

I missed Melissa's "I deserve better" story but I did catch the apology/explanation she posted yesterday (it should still be on her Insta story for a few more hours if anybody wants to see it).

Basically, she said she'd had a drink and was in her feelings, she shouldn't have done that, she's proud of her work on the show, etc. She did mention that it takes her awhile to hone her impressions, and I'm wondering if the pace of the show just doesn't jibe with her comedic process. I think there are a lot of issues with how the show is put together, but she's been there how many seasons now? It's unlikely to change to fit her needs anytime soon, so either get with the program or stop complaining.

I do think it's kind of crazy how many times she's publicly bellyached and still has a job there. Someone has to have talked to her about this by now, right? If not Lorne or another producer, then her management at least?

I think back to the Casey/Jenny/Michaela mess, three funny women who hustled extremely hard to get their stuff on air and were still dumped after a season, lest they outshine Kristen Wiig (I can't think of another reason they were all axed in such quick succession, and I no longer buy the "Casey's too fat" "Jenny said fuck on air" "Michaela didn't know her place" excuses). I'll always have a chip on my shoulder about that time, and I struggle to see what Melissa brings to the show that can handwave how much she dumps on it when more talented people have been let go for less.

It especially boggles knowing what a petty tyrant Lorne can be.

I felt so awful for Casey because it was the press that ran with her weight as a reason when I don't even think anyone at the show did - that seemed to affect her a great deal, from what she's said it interviews. 

I think the situation with Melissa may be similar to Pete Davidson, who even gave a radio interview last year blasting the show, but was kept on because he seems to get on well with Lorne. I doubt Melissa is as close to Lorne, but I think some at the show do like her and must support her (I know she is close to Ego and Heidi but I mean others higher up). Otherwise I'm not sure why she is still there after all this time - she's had airtime struggles for about 3-4 seasons now.

I know she has been under stress recently (her grandmother died a week or two ago), but all season she has gone to Twitter to complain about one element of the show or the other, then has to clarify/delete. Social media is not her friend, and she is just going to end up getting hurt in the end.

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I always felt Pete got a bit of a pass because of people's concerns for his mental health, and wanting to provide a supportive environment for him--what if kicking him off the show pushed him over the edge? For all of Lorne's faults, I don't think he wants another Belushi or Farley situation on his hands.

Melissa has also been fairly open about her struggles with mental health, but I don't think she's ever been in a place (at least publicly) where people thought there was something to worry about. Things may be very different in private, and that's none of my business either way.

Perhaps she does have people advocating for her behind the scenes, but that advocating only seems to go so far. And she really does have to be careful about social media (I see she's learned nothing from her awful tweets she had to delete when she got hired). The next project she works on may not be as forgiving of negative comments. I'm not saying she can't blow off steam--everybody complains about work--but blasting your employer on the gram is a no no in any industry.

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1 hour ago, helenamonster said:

The next project she works on may not be as forgiving of negative comments. I'm not saying she can't blow off steam--everybody complains about work--but blasting your employer on the gram is a no no in any industry.

I totally agree. It's definitely not the first time she's had to walk back something she posted saying she had too much to drink. If you can't trust yourself to avoid posting things that might have dire professional consequences, get rid of the social media.

 

6 hours ago, Pete Martell said:

I think the situation with Melissa may be similar to Pete Davidson, who even gave a radio interview last year blasting the show, but was kept on because he seems to get on well with Lorne.

I still think there was some kind of "Come to Jesus" meeting there. I know Pete was furious that Che and Jost ripped him on-air when he wasn't there.  Then all of a sudden Pete's tone toward the show completely did a 180. " He loves the show, it's an honor to be there, he'll be there as long as they want him," etc. Something  happened.

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On 5/22/2021 at 10:44 AM, helenamonster said:

Basically, she said she'd had a drink and was in her feelings, she shouldn't have done that, she's proud of her work on the show, etc. She did mention that it takes her awhile to hone her impressions, and I'm wondering if the pace of the show just doesn't jibe with her comedic process. I think there are a lot of issues with how the show is put together, but she's been there how many seasons now? It's unlikely to change to fit her needs anytime soon, so either get with the program or stop complaining.

I think she also has to decide if she's OK with being, for lack of a better term, a second tier player.  Darrell Hammond, who also had all sorts of issues and occasionally bitched about his role, seemed to accept that he'd show up for one or two impressions and take the rest of the night off.  Sure, no one dreams about being a one trick pony when they start SNL but it's still a steady paycheck and exposure to a national audience.

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I’ve only started watching this show as it’s airing in Europe so while I know the overall history of the show I’m not sure about the current set up. One question I have though - is Colin Jost always breaking character during the weekend update? Or maybe breaking character is the wrong phrase.. does the host always laugh through the segment? I don’t think Che is as bad. It doesn’t bother me, in fact I think it’s endearing but I thought they’d want him to be more serious.

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saoirse

Discussion in this topic is for current cast members. Thank you!

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