Saturday Night Live wrapped up a banner year this May, ending its 46th season at number one (in the key 18 to 49 demographic, for all non-sports entertainment on ad-supported television). But despite being more popular than ever, a handful of longtime, high-profile cast members have apparently been mulling possible exits from the show, giving cryptic responses as to whether they’ll be “live from New York” come season 47.
SNL typically doesn’t finalize contracts until late summer, so technically the entire cast’s fate is up in the air. Until then, here’s a status update as to where a handful of tried-and-true Not Ready For Primetime players stand on returning to the show.
Strong joined Saturday Night Live in 2012, and has made quite a name for herself with her eccentric characters, like “Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With At a Party” and her wine-spilling take on Fox News host Jeanine Pirro. The finale of season 46 certainly felt like a swan song for Strong, ending Weekend Update by trotting out her Pirro to take a dive in a wine bath while triumphantly singing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”
Strong, who missed large chunks of the season due to filming her forthcoming Apple+ musical series Schmigadoon, suggested as much in a recent interview promoting her new venture on Entertainment Tonight, admitting that her SNL future is a “bit more up in the air” this year. She stopped short of saying she’s done—but indicated that if she is, she’ll be happy with her run. “I’ll be thrilled if I go back [to SNL], I’ll be thrilled if that was my last show,” Strong said.
SNL’s resident bad boy may be finally leaving the building after 7 seasons. Davidson’s beloved Chad met his maker when his head exploded on Mars after shooting up to space with Elon Musk during the May 8th episode. Perhaps more subtly, Davidson ended his season finale Weekend Update segment in the past tense, saying “it’s been an honor to grow up in front of you guys, so thanks.”
Davidson, who’s gone MIA during multiple episodes to shoot projects like The King of Staten Island and Suicide Squad, suggested that it might be time for him to retire from SNL during The Hollywood Reporter‘s comedy actors round table in May. “I’m surprised I made it to seven,” said Davidson, regarding his tenure on the show. And though he didn’t confirm his exit either, he implied it’s imminent: “I’m ready to hang up the jersey.”
The Emmy-award winning McKinnon opened the season finale flanked by longtime cast mates Strong and Aidy Bryant, delivering an emotional monologue which led many people to wonder if all three longtime SNL ladies were saying goodbye. “This is the year we realized we’re more than just a cast, we’re a family,” said McKinnon, choking back tears. Beyond that, she implied that she may ready to leave studio 8H once and for all in a recent interview for Variety’s Power of Women in Comedy issue—but like her colleagues, left her final decision very much up in the air: “It’s April. It’s early, and I really love working there, and I really love everyone who works there, so we will see.”
McKinnon recently bowed out of starring as Elizabeth Holmes in Hulu’s comedy The Dropout, so perhaps that bodes well for the probability that we’ll see McKinnon star in another “Murdur Durdur” sketch.
Like Strong, Bryant was also absent from chunks of this season due to conflicts stemming from filming season 3 of her Hulu series Shrill. Despite Shrill not being renewed for a fourth season, Bryant’s future on SNL is still uncertain, potentially robbing us from her memorable turns as Ted Cruz. She recently told The Arizona Republic that she had not decided whether or not she’s returning for season 47. “I don’t know. I really don’t know,” she said. “And I kind of keep thinking I’ll have a moment of clarity where I feel like OK, it’s the time, or no, I need to stay. And I haven’t quite had that moment yet.”
There will most likely be at least one familiar face when Saturday Night Live returns for its 47th season. Thompson—who at 18 seasons has earned the distinction of being the longest-running Saturday Night Live cast member in the show’s history—has expressed that he wants to stick around for at least a few more years. “I would like to get to 20 [years], because I’m so close to it,” Thompson said on The Tamron Hall Show. So even though his eponymous NBC sitcom Kenan recently was renewed for a second, it’s likely that the Black Jeopardy host and Steve Harvey impersonator will be back come the fall. If he weren’t, it would leave many of us saying, “What’s up with that?”
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