Bill Hader is exiting stage left after this season of Saturday Night Live wraps up on May 18. Hader’s exit shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The comedian has been on Saturday Night Live for eight seasons which is a typically long run these days.
Starting as a production assistant on the set of the 2001 film James Dean, he started out making sandwiches for actor James Franco. During his tenure on Saturday Night Live Hader brought us beloved characters and impersonations such as Stefon, Vincent Price, and old man reporter Herb Welch. The comedian has spent years as a bright light in some dull seasons on Saturday Night Live. At the height of its comedy this generation Hader established himself alongside fan favorites like Kristen Wiig and Andy Sandberg, and later on was the saving grace this year when the show saw an overhaul in comics.
Announcing to the press of his departure, Hader said: “It was a hard decision, but it has to happen at some point. It got to a point where I said, ‘Maybe it’s just time to go.”
Hader started his time at SNL has a featured player in 2005, but quickly was promoted to a full cast member in 2006. The first year is usually a sink or swim year for players and Hader quickly rose to the top. His success hasn’t just been with his characters, but in how he’s been recognized in the industry. Like most cast members Hader branched out into films, but all of his turns succeeded unlike some SNL alums (see: Chris Kattan and Molly Shannon.) Over the years Hader scored roles in Tropic Thunder, Superbad, Pineapple Express, Men in Black 3, and even won an Emmy nomination for supporting actor in a comedy series for SNL.
For executive producer of Saturday Night Live Lorne Michaels, Bill Hader made an impression right away. The producer spoke about the first time he saw Hader perform in Los Angeles, and was instantly reminded of Dan Aykroyd. “In terms of intelligence and talent, he was in that same tradition. He was so completely committed to the art of it and enough a student of it that there’s something strikingly original. He didn’t explode onto the air, but gradually he found his voice, and that became a huge thing.”
Other members leaving Saturday Night Live include Seth Meyers, who’s replacing Jimmy Fallon in the Late Night spot, and regulars like Fred Armisen and Jason Sudeikis might exit as well.
What’s your favorite Bill Hader skit?