Cast Shakeup on ‘Saturday Night Live’
Two veteran cast members of “Saturday Night Live” are out.
NBC decided not to renew the contracts of six-year veterans Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam while it readies for season 42 this fall reported TV Line.
Pharoah (né Jared Antonio Farrow) joined the show as a featured player for “SNL’s” 36th season in 2010. He became a full-time cast member in 2012, where he became known for his celebrity impersonations of rapper Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter and actors Denzel Washington, Will Smith, and Eddie Murphy.
In 2010, the 28-year-old Virginia native impersonated President Barack Obama and continued to do so since.
Killam has portrayed actors Brad Pitt, Matt McConaughey and political figures, including Senator Ted Cruz and Speaker Paul Ryan. He also impersonated Donald Trump for a short stint last season.
Killam seemed surprised by NBC’s decision to waive him from the cast given that he had one year remaining on his seven-year contract.
“I don’t know fully. I don’t know the other side of it. You sign for seven years, so I had one more year,” he said in an interview with Uproxx. “I had sort of had it in my head I would make this upcoming year my last year, but then heard they weren’t going to pick up my contract. I was never given a reason why, really.”
Killam said he is grateful for having had an opportunity to perform on a platform as popular as SNL.
“I set out to be on ‘SNL’ and I got to do that and I did very well. And I love and adore and will forever have close ties and tight bonds with the brilliant, smartest, funniest people I’ve ever met in my life,” he said. “So, I have no gripes at all. I am so, so, so lucky to have been given the time I’ve been given.”
Killam will direct the 2017 film “Why We’re Killing Gunther” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Jon Rudnitsky who joined the cast last year will also be leaving.