A day after firing comedian Brooks Wheelan, Saturday Night Live has announced that three more cast members have been released. Two, like Wheelan, joined the cast last summer and one, Nasim Pedrad, is leaving for a sitcom on Fox.
John Milhiser and Noel Wells are both now unemployed as NBC chose not to renew their contracts with the popular Saturday night sketch comedy show.
Milhiser is a former member of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater troupe and the sketch comedy group, Serious Lunch. The New Jersey native and Hofstra grad was the least used cast member last season and his release was all but expected.
Noel Wells, an impressionist and fellow Upright Citizens Brigade alum, failed to connect with viewers and the already bloated cast needed to be cut down, hence her dismissal. Wells, a native of San Antonio, Texas first gained popularity in a series of video shorts on Funny or Die and Cracked, and she was the first female Mexican-American cast member in Saturday Night Live‘s 39-year history.
Pedrad had been with Saturday Night Live since 2009, and is leaving to co-star in “Mulaney,” a half-hour sitcom on Fox developed and starring ex-SNL writer John Mulaney. “Mulaney” is executive produced by SNL creator Lorne Michaels.
Arguably, Pedrad’s most famous character was her near spot-on impersonation of Kim Kardashian. Pedrad and fellow cast member Jay Pharoah had developed a reoccurring skit centered around a morning talk show featuring Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. Pedrad had previously hinted that last season would be her last and now it is official.
Mike O’Brien also joined the cast before last season, changing hats from the SNL writer’s room, where he spent that last four years, to be a featured player on camera. According to Deadline, his status is still unclear. He could transition back to the writing staff, or work both on screen and behind the scenes.
In early June, Lorne Michaels announced that a series of cast changes would occur before the new season of Saturday Night Live begins in September. No word on if more changes are coming.
Todays cuts leave only Beck Bennet, Kyle Mooney, Colin Jost, and Sasheer Zamata as the only remaining “new” faces in the cast. Eight new members were added before and during the 2013-14 season to compensate for the loss of celebrated alums Bill Hader, Andy Samburg, Jason Sudeikis, Seth Myers, Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig in the few seasons prior.
Four cast members have now been dumped and O’Brien’s status is up in the air. Saturday Night Live returns this fall for it’s 40th season.
[Images Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter and NBC.com]