Longtime Saturday Night Live favorites Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam will not be returning for the show's 42nd season this fall. The news of the cast shakeup was first reported by TVLine, and subsequently confirmed by several other outlets.
While no reason was given for the change, Killam confirmed in a recent interview with Uproxx that his contract was not renewed. "I was never given a reason why, really," he said. "I can assume until the cows come home. But I do know I’m directing this movie [Why We’re Killing Gunther with Arnold Schwarzenegger] and I’ll have two months of post-production that would have bled into the SNL production schedule."
Both Pharoah and Killam had been on the show for six seasons, and were known for their impressions. Hip-hop fans in particular grew to love Pharoah for his spot-on impressions of Jay Z, Will Smith, Lil Wayne, Drake, and other rap personalities. Check the classic skit below from this past May for a taste.
Fans of both actors were saddened by the news of their departure.