‘Saturday Night Live’ bids farewell to four main cast members


Photo courtesy of NBC Studios. McKinnon takes in the moment before delivering her final, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”

Fluctuated ratings are no stranger to Saturday Night Live these days, but thankfully, the program knows exactly where it shines. The season finale that aired on May 21, 2022, opened with a familiar fan-favorite storyline where three adults discuss their recent encounters with an alien species at the Pentagon. The star of the show is Kate McKinnon’s character, Ms. Rafferty, whose inappropriate commentary is entertaining because she nearly cracks everyone around her, and it’s not only due to her manspreading posture. This skit is the final encounter and we learn that Ms. Rafferty is sent off to venture with the aliens, leaving McKinnon to deliver a choked up, seemingly in-character goodbye that also poses as her final SNL send-off. “Well, Earth, I love ya,” she exclaims, “thanks for letting me stay a while.” Kate McKinnon is leaving after ten seasons — and she isn’t the only one, either.

Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney, and Aidy Bryant are also resigning from their positions as main cast members. Pete Davidson and Aidy Bryant officiated their exit on Colin Jost and Michael Che’s Weekend Update segment, and while Bryant stayed in character, Davidson did not. He reminisced on his first moments inside Studio 8H, stating, “I remember auditioning for SNL, he [creator, Lorne Michaels] looked me right in the eye and said, ‘I don’t think you’re right for this show, so let’s screw this up together.’ And that’s exactly what we did.” Davidson’s fame has skyrocketed since his debut in 2014, and to that, he professes, “I never imagined this would be my life.”

Both Pete Davidson and Aidy Bryant have found success outside of NBC Studios. Bryant assumably plans to devote time to her Hulu comedy ‘Shrill,’ and Davidson released a critically praised feature-length film last year. With this new downtime, he might settle down with his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian. However, Mooney’s comedy style remained slightly more unorthodox than what Saturday Night Live usually airs, which often shoved his sketches into the cut-for-time space. No plans of his have been declared yet, but his style of comedy would have great potential on a network like HBO if we’re shooting ideas, and he doesn’t plan to take on stand-up full time.

Saturday Night Live is still in relatively good hands, though. 19-year resident legend, Kenan Thompson, plans to stay on board along with another long-term member, Cecily Strong. Heidi Gardner, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd will be on screen alongside Thompson and Strong, while newcomers like Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang have yet to disappoint. Undoubtedly, the best addition SNL has made in years is the golden Please Don’t Destroy trio. As recent NYU graduates, they find a strong balance between Gen Z and millennial humor and promoted skits on TikTok and YouTube before joining the cast list. They have hit the ground running since their first sketch, ‘Hard Seltzer.’ Hopefully, the news of four main cast members dropping out points to the resolution of Please Don’t Destroy segments guaranteed for all episodes onward.

Watch full episodes of Saturday Night Live on Hulu and Peacock. Season 48 dates will be announced later this summer, with an approximate commencement in the fall of 2022.