Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah Exit ‘Saturday Night Live’
TV| | By Sara Wilkins
Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah are leaving NBC’s late night institution Saturday Night Live after six seasons.
According to website TVLine, an NBC spokesperson confirmed the two veteran cast members will not return to Saturday Night Live for Season 42 this autumn after their contracts were not renewed.
Killam is best remembered for his impersonations of Matthew McConaughey, Marco Rubio and Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy. Meanwhile Pharoah, who was the second-youngest black male cast member (after Eddie Murphy) when he joined the show, was lauded for his impressions of Jay Z, Will Smith, and President Barack Obama.
Killam, who is currently directing a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Why We’re Killing Gunther, a project approved by SNL bosses shared his “surprise” and “disappointment” at not returning to the show in an interview with website Uproxx.
“I don’t know fully. I don’t know the other side of it. You sign for seven years, so I had one more year,” he responded to the outlet when asked what happened. “I had sort of had it in my head I would make this upcoming year my last year, but then heard they weren’t going to pick up my contract. I was never given a reason why, really.”
The comic speculated that an overlap of schedules on Why We’re Killing Gunther and SNL may have been one reason for the abrupt end to his run on the show.
“I don’t know. I’ve seen it both ways, you know what I mean? That’s sort of the tough thing to know, even being behind the curtain at that show. Sometimes people are allowed to miss days out of the week to go film movies and sometimes you’re not allowed to do a guest spot,” he shrugged.
Pharoah, who is currently headlining a tour of the U.S., is yet to comment.
SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels is expected to introduce several new cast members before the launch of the new season next month.