‘Saturday Night Live’ Stars Heidi Gardner & Chris Redd Promoted To Featured Players

Mary Ellen MatthewsNBC

Saturday Night Live has promoted Heidi Gardner and Chris Redd to featured players just days before the show debuts its 45th season on Saturday, September 28.

Deadline reported that Gardner and Redd made the jump in their third year with the show when newer cast members usually are promoted to featured players and made a main part of the cast. The two comedians made celebrity impressions their main focus on the show each week along with the characters they are called upon to portray.

Deadline reported that Gardner’s list of impersonations includes Allison Janney, Dana Bash, Kristen Schaal, and Drew Barrymore. Redd is best known for his spot-on Kanye West, Jussie Smollett, Mahershala Ali, Cory Booker, and Sterling K. Brown.

Heading into her second season is Ego Nwodim and making their debut on Saturday will be new SNL cast additions Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman. Shane Gillis was also part of the new cast, but shortly after the announcement of his addition to the show’s lineup, several videos were unearthed online where the comedian was seen using racist and homophobic language. Gillis later apologized, but as reported by The New York Post, Saturday Night Live fired the comedian.

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“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL. We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as a comedian and his impressive audition for SNL,” a spokesperson on behalf of Saturday Night Live Executive Producer Lorne Michaels told The New York Post.

“We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”

The Inquisitr recently reported that one of the most beloved cast members of the past five years has chosen to leave the series and will not be returning for Season 45 of the long-running late-night comedy sketch series. Since joining the cast of Saturday Night Live in 2014, Leslie Jones has been Emmy-nominated two times in both 2017 and 2018 and was also nominated in 2019 for co-writing the music video “Upper East Side” for Season 44.

Jones will star alongside Eddie Murphy, who is hosting SNL for the first time in 35 years, in the new film Coming 2 America, the sequel to the 1980s hit film starring Murphy and Arsenio Hall, Coming to America.

Jones’ debut on the series was unique in that she was the oldest cast member ever hired to the series at the age of 45 after the show was looking to add an African American woman to its ensemble. Jones was originally a writer for the show and was eventually upped to a featured player.

Saturday Night Live will make its season debut Saturday, September 28 at 11:30 p.m. EST on NBC. Actor Woody Harrelson will host and singer Billie Eilish will be the musical guest.