'SNL' cuts Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah and Jon Rudnitsky in cast shakeup

NBC’s Saturday Night Live is dropping two longtime cast members as it readies its 42nd season.

Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam have left the show after six seasons apiece when their options for a seventh weren’t picked up, NBC confirmed.

Both joined the cast in 2010; Pharoah, 28, was best known for impersonations of Will Smith, Ben Carson and President Obama. Killam, 34, has done Matthew McConaughey, Fox News host Steve Doocy and briefly, Donald Trump.

The network confirmed SNL also dropped its most junior cast member, Jon Rudnitsky, who'd been with the show for one season.

No reason was given for their departures, which were first reported by TV Line, but Killam told website Uproxx: “You sign for seven years, so I had one more year. 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. I can assume until the cows come home.”

SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels has a history of switching out some cast members, but the involuntary departures of veterans such as Pharoah and Killam is unusual.

Killam did manage to find humor in the situation, choosing to be optimistic about his newfound free time.


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