When Saturday Night Live returns for its 42nd season this fall, the comedy juggernaut will be down two of its strongest veteran cast members, as well as one of the newest. The show confirmed on Monday that, after six seasons on the show, Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah will not be returning, and neither will Jon Rudnitsky, a featured player with only one season under his belt. In an interview with Uproxx, Killam, who was under contract for a seventh season, expressed surprise at the decision. “I had sort of had it in my head I would make this upcoming year my last year,” Killam said, “but then heard they weren’t going to pick up my contract. I was never given a reason why, really.” It might have been related to the production schedule of Killam’s film,Why We’re Killing Gunther, which would have overlapped with SNL’s next season for two months, but the actor couldn’t say for certain. However, he wasn’t bitter: “My feeling about it is I got my dream job. I set out to be on SNL and I got to do that and I did very well.”
Killam was one of the show’s most-used players in recent seasons, frequently appearing in several sketches every Saturday, while Pharoah was most notable for his impressions of Barack Obama, Jay Z, and various comedians. The pair are currently involved in other projects: Pharoah can be seen doing stand-up across the country this fall while Killam’s directorial debut, Why We’re Killing Gunther, is slated to hit theaters in 2017. Rudnitsky had a smaller profile during his time on the show, but had a mini-breakout with a Dirty Dancing segment on Weekend Update.
This post has been updated throughout.