Who is leaving SNL 2016? Are Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam fired from the set? These have been the big questions after hearing the news that NBC has confirmed members of the lineup are leaving.
— E! News (@enews) August 9, 2016
On Monday, NBC announced that neither presenter would return after six years on the show. While changing presenters isn’t a shock on SNL, the news that Killam and Pharoah wouldn’t return was. Killam had another year left on his seven-year contract, and he expected to come back for SNL 2016. He said that he “was never given a reason why” he was fired.
The two comedians are known for their various impersonations, including the likes of Barack Obama, Kanye West, Donald Trump, and Marco Rubio. Darrel Hammond had recently taken over as Trump in various SNL 2015 sketches, according to NBC.
As of now, no reason has been given publicly by NBC. Pharoah is yet to comment on the decision as he is currently touring the United States. The latest tweets include his trouble being stuck in yesterday’s Delta Airlines mess.
“I was never given a reason why, really. I can assume until the cows come home.”
Killam is currently directing Why We’re Killing Gunther, which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger. While the project has been approved by the Saturday Night Live bosses, there are rumors that it is running over and may conflict with Killam’s other scheduled commitments. This could be the reason for the abrupt firing.
In a statement, Killam explained that he doesn’t know why he was fired because he doesn’t know the other side. He signed for seven years and had one more left. Expecting to return for SNL 2016, he admits that he is disappointed by the news. In his head, he had decided this would be his last year.
“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.”
When questioned about whether it was his other project, he admits that it could be. When working with the SNL cast, he has seen comedians being allowed to miss some days for other projects, but others have been told they can’t even do guest spots. He admitted that post-production work could run into the SNL 2016 filming time, but that it wouldn’t have meant any time away from the set. The bosses may have decided that it was best to find other cast members who were able to fully commit to the show.
Killam has taken the news well. He has since taken to Twitter to thank the SNL boss, Lorne Michael, for giving him “more time to dedicate to my undefeated” Los Angeles Rams.
A big thank you for all the Love from my fans. Lorne was kind enough to understand I needed more time to dedicate to my undefeated @RamsNFL
— Taran Killam (@TaranKillam) August 9, 2016
Fans have taken to Twitter to share their shock at the news. Many assumed that the two comedians decided to quit and have called out the SNL bosses for their decisions to fire Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah. Others have said that it is time for the program to come to an end after this decision.
— Linda McManamon (@mcmanamon_linda) August 9, 2016
@enews Too bad…they were the funniest out of the totally unfunny recent cast!
— Stingö Rar (@stingo_rar) August 9, 2016
In addition to the news that Killam and Pharoah are leaving the cast, NBC has also confirmed that Jon Rudnitsky will not return. It is unclear whether he has been fired or has decided to walk away from the role. He only took on a role as a cast member last season and was well known for his Dirty Dancing parody on the program.
— Mashable (@mashable) August 9, 2016
Killam hasn’t shared any hard feelings for the decision. He says that he got his dream job, and he believes he “did very well” with it. He will always love the job and the bonds he made during his time on the show
SNL 2016 returns in the fall on NBC. There is no news on new cast members yet.
[Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]