Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah’s recent departures from Saturday Night Live have been explained, according to E! Online.
Showtime revealed that the two actors will be starring in separate pilots expected next year. This probably means that filming for the new series will start during Saturday Night Live’s upcoming 42nd season, and that conflict prompted NBC not to renew their contracts.
Taran Killam is set to star in the first season of Mating, a comedic anthology. Subsequent seasons will capture different storylines, but Killam’s is that of a man trying to figure out the dating scene after marrying young and getting divorced. Mating is created by Jason Katims, who is known for Parenthood and Friday Night Lights, and Stu Zicherman, who previously worked on The Americans and The Affair.
Killam tweeted in reaction to Showtime’s official announcement, expressing his excitement for the project.
Jay Pharoah will play the lead role in White Famous, written by Tom Kapinos. Pharoah plays a young black comedian struggling to maintain his credibility as he becomes “white famous.” The series is based on an idea by singer and actor Jamie Foxx, who will be producing the show and have a recurring role.
As E! Online reported earlier this week, it was announced that Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah wouldn’t be returning to the Saturday Night Live set after six seasons on the cast. No real details were revealed, but it had been mentioned that the two were working on other projects.
Killam was best known for his imitations of presidential candidate Donald Trump on the sketch comedy, while Pharoah’s Barack Obama impressions became infamous.
In an interview with Uproxx, Killam said he was surprised by NBC’s decision, but he’s grateful nonetheless.
“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. I can assume until the cows come home.
“But my feeling about it is I got my dream job. 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. So, I have no gripes at all.”
Saturday Night Live aside, Killam and Pharoah have had quite a bit going for them in the acting and comedy worlds within the past few months.
Jay Pharoah has been on a comedy show tour since May, ending later this month in Georgia.
Taran Killam stars in an upcoming comedy called Brother Nature, according to Indie Wire. It’s directed by Matt Villines and Osmany Rodriguez and expected in theaters, On Demand, and Digital HD on September 9. The cast includes Bobby Moynihan, Gillian Jacobs, Rita Wilson, and more.
He’s also filming Why We’re Killing Gunther, which will serve as his directorial debut. Killam also wrote the comedy, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as the title character.
As Variety reported, Schwarzenegger will play a hitman who prompts his fellow assassins to turn on him.
“Schwarzenegger will portray the titular Gunther, the world’s greatest hitman who’s also arrogant, a show-off and steals jobs. The assassin community is tired of him and a group of eccentric killers from across the globe come together to set the perfect trap, but their master plan quickly turns into a series of embarrassing fails as Gunther always appears one step ahead.”
Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah aren’t the only SNL cast members who won’t be returning for Season 42. According to CNN, NBC announced that newer cast addition Jon Rudnitsky will be moving on as well.
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