Saturday Night Live is cleaning house, announcing the departure of several new and long-term cast members this past week. The most dramatic revelation was Brooks Whelan’s, who took it upon himself to tweet to the world that he was not only parting ways with the television staple, but that he’d been let go:
Had a blast and loved every second of it. I’m totally honored to be able to make this next joke… FIRED FROM NEW YORK IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT!
— Brooks Wheelan (@brookswheelan) July 14, 2014
Saturday Night Live will begin its 40th season this fall without Nasim Pedrad, who has been on the show since 2009 and will move on to star in a new Fox sitcom. Also leaving are Noel Wells and Joel Milhiser. Wheelan, Wells and Milhiser were among the six new cast members “hazed” during the Tina Fey’s monologue on the Season 39 premiere. The newbies had to wear gold shorts and dance around the former Weekend Update anchor.
Andy Samberg, who was an SNL regular 2005 to 2012, says those who are facing the axe should take heart that they made it on to the show in the first place: “If you were hired… there’s something good going on with you,” said Samberg during a Television Critics Association set visit last week.
Saturday Night Live has been the launching pad for many well-known comedic actors who went on to great success after being on the show. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who went on to become a household name after her starring turn on Seinfeld, spent two seasons on SNL in the early 80s and was not invited back. Louis-Dreyfus said it was very “dog eat dog,” and she did not have her own cast of characters, which put her at a disadvantage.
Sarah Silverman, Robert Downey Jr., Joan Cusack and Damon Wayans are also on the list of SNL‘s fired players. Ben Stiller left after only four episodes, by his own choice.
Deadline reports there may be more changes on the way. One of last year’s new cast members, Michael Patrick O’Brien, moved in front of the camera after four years as a show writer. He may be shuffled back to the writing room. Deadline points out that it is always tough for new cast members to make it past the first year and was particularly tough for the new faces of the 2013-2014 season.
Many were brought in after the departure of six well-known players at the end of 2012-13, including Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis, who were all key elements of Saturday Night Live‘s success in recent years.