Last week 'SNL' season 40 saw one of its highest-profile re-toolings yet, as Weekend Update host Cecily Strong was replaced by writer Michael Che, the first instance of two men running the desk. Now, with three season 39 cast members already let go, 'SNL' has added comedian Pete Davidson to its ranks, in the process confirming yet another departure from the long-running NBC sketch comedy show's roster.
Yesterday saw 'SNL' fans caught off guard by the news that season 39 freshman Brooks Wheelan was let go from the cast in advance of season 40, and now a few more names have been cast into the fire. Fellow season 39 additions Noël Wells and John Milhiser have also been confirmed to be let go from the long-running NBC sketch comedy series, with a "murky" future for Michael Patrick O'Brien as well.
The 39th season of 'Saturday Night Live' is over. From the beginning, it was a strange season -- gone were so many of the show's powerful voices: Hader, Samberg, Wiig, Sudeikis, Armisen -- yet this allowed new voices to be heard. And that's the thing about being new on 'SNL': not everything is going to hit. But, in compiling this list of the ten best sketches from the 2013-2014 season, there were some tough choices to be made (sorry, 'Bugs'). And, sadly, for inclusion, the sketch had to have actually appeared on the live show (sorry, 'Wing').
And, yes, this list is heavy with prerecorded material as opposed to live performances. (Perhaps it's not completely fair to compare, but, this is a testament of just how strong the prerecorded sketches are in a post-'Digital Short' world.) And it's also notable that none of the best sketches were recurring sketches (though, I could see at least one of these coming back next season). So, behold: The ten best sketches from this past season of 'Saturday Night Live.'
Last summer, ‘Saturday Night Live’ hired five new cast members to replace the large shoes left by the departures of veterans Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen – plus Tim Robinson, whose quirky style was, after just one season, reassigned to the writing staff. Those five new hires were Beck Bennett, Noël Wells, Brooks Wheelan, Kyle Mooney and John Milhiser. In January, the show added Sasheer Zamata. Then, in February, after the departure of 'SNL's' most tenured cast member, Seth Meyers, co-head writer Colin Jost joined the cast.
So, in a season filled with new faces – and a now whopping 17 cast members – competing for that ever-precious airtime, it’s notable that the new cast member who, at the very least, has had the most artistic impact on the show – and is certainly the boldest cast member this season – was introduced to the world by a nearly asterisked “promoted from the writing staff” designation...a 37-year-old actor/writer/comedian who used to go by the name Pat O’Brien.