“Saturday Night Live” is parting ways with two longtime cast members, Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam, Variety has confirmed. The two performers have been informed that their contracts will not be renewed for the upcoming 42nd season of the show.
Pharoah and Killam have been with the NBC late-night franchise for six seasons. Pharoah is best known for his celebrity impressions, including Denzel Washington, Will Smith and “SNL” alum Eddie Murphy. He was one of a select few comics to speak when Murphy was awarded the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for humor in 2015, paying tribute to Murphy alongside Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Nealon, George Lopez and others. He also played President Barack Obama on the show, a role he took over from former cast member Fred Armisen.
Killam had played Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the outset of Season 41 but was replaced in that role by “SNL” announcer and former cast member Darrell Hammond several episodes into the season. He also played Sen. Ted Cruz during the Republican primaries, and his other celebrity impressions include Brad Pitt and Matthew McConaughey. He is a former cast member on the sketch show “Mad TV.”
“SNL” has a long history of cast turnover, with some high-profile cast members choosing to leave to launch television and film careers and others not having their contracts renewed at times when the show would look to refresh its talent pool.
TV Line first reported the departures.