Saturday Night Live’s 47th season starts on Oct. 2, and the cast will look different, although not as much as many expected. Two cast members won’t be returning, including a long-time player and a one-season supporting player, while a small group of long-running stars who were assumed to be on their way out are all returning. Meanwhile, three new featured players have been added, including a long-time Paste favorite. Here’s the breakdown.
First up, Beck Bennett has wrapped up at SNL after eight seasons. He joined the show in 2013 alongside his longtime sketch partner Kyle Mooney (who will be staying on the show this season) and has gone on to be this cast’s all-purpose white guy authority figure type. Need a dad or a boss or a politician (when you can’t find a superstar to do a stunt cameo) or just any kind of white guy? Bennett was your man. He’s very good at it, and a thriving career in voice over work and randomly popping up in all manner of movies and TV shows will presumably keep him busy after leaving SNL.
Also leaving is Lauren Holt, after her first and only season. Holt kind of got the short end of the stick; she showed up right when Aidy Bryant disappeared to go shoot the last season of Shrill, and because they look slightly like each other, some on social media gave Holt the less-than-polite nickname of Fake Aidy. Holt joins a long list of comedians who weren’t given much of a chance to establish themselves on SNL.
And those are the only two leaving. Many pretty much assumed that Cecily Strong was already out the door after last season’s finale, and there was much buzz about Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, and Pete Davidson all leaving, too. They’re all staying, though. Meanwhile the all-timer Kenan Thompson has been on the show for almost two decades now, and is the star of his own sitcom on NBC, so it wouldn’t have been too shocking to see him finally leave SNL, but he will be back for his 19th season. Other returning cast members include Michael Che, Mikey Day, Heidi Garner, Colin Jost, Alex Moffat, Kyle Mooney, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, and Melissa Villaseñor. Featured players Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang have both been bumped up to the main cast, while last year’s rookies Andrew Dismukes and Punkie Johnson remain featured players.
Three new comedians are joining the show as featured players, including one who’s made some of the weirdest, grossest, and most hilarious comedy on the internet over the last few years. Sarah Sherman, who, as Sarah Squirm, has been the ringleader of Chicago’s utterly chaotic Helltrap Nightmare live show, and whose body-horror art-comedy has made her an absolute must-follow on social media for years, will be joining one of the most conservative and formula-driven comedy shows on TV. It’s impossible to predict what she’ll be doing on the show, as her own comedy would never really fly on network TV. She’ll be joined by fellow newcomers Aristotle Athari and James Austin Johnson. Johnson is a comedian and actor who shot to fame on Twitter last year for one of the very few Trump impressions worth paying attention to, and also had a small role in Hail, Caesar. Athari was a writer, performer and director with the comedy troupe Goatface, which also featured Hasan Minhaj from The Daily Show and Netflix’s Patriot Act; Athari also had a recurring role in Silicon Valley. All three are joining the show in time for Oct. 2’s season premiere, with host Owen Wilson and musical guest Kacey Musgraves. Hopefully they actually get to show what they can do during their first season.