Saturday Night Live may soon undergo its biggest shakeup in years.
Aside from Kenan Thompson and Cecily Strong, McKinnon and Bryant are the longest tenured members of the current cast. McKinnon joined SNL during its 37th season in 2012, while Bryant was added to the cast the following season. Mooney is also a longtime veteran of the show, having made his first appearance in 2013.
Michael Che, who’s co-anchored Weekend Updated alongside Colin Jost since 2014, also indicated that he’ll be leaving the show.
Although Davidson, McKinnon, Bryant, Mooney, and Che stayed long beyond the normal tenure of an SNL cast member, their collective departure sets the stage for one of the pivotal moments in the show’s recent history. Not since 2012-2013, when SNL bid farewell to Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Bill Hader, and Fred Armisen, has Lorne Michaels faced such a substanital turnover of the show’s cast.
There had been some thought that SNL’s current cast would stay on through the show’s 50th anniversary in 2025 — after which point Michaels is expected retire. In recent years, Michaels has been more lenient in allowing his cast to come and go during the season so that they could pursue other projects; Bryant missed a chunk of last season to film her Hulu series Shrill, while McKinnon missed several episodes earlier this year so that she could film her Tiger King series in Australia. Davidson also took time off to film projects like The Suicide Squad.
Yet, Michaels also braced for such a seismic shakeup by expanding SNL’s cast to its largest in history — a total of 21 performers were featured on Season 47.
Now, many of the show’s younger performers, such as Bowen Yang, Andrew Dismukes, Chloe Fineman, and James Austin Johnson, will ascend to frontline status.