Saturday Night Live: SNL Season 42 Preview
August 9, 2016 11:12 AM - Season 42 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Two veterans – Taran and Jay – have been given their walking papers a year before their contracts would have expired. Jon Rudnitsky might be dropped as well! What next?
posted by not_on_display (67 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by not_on_display at 11:13 AM on August 9, 2016

I'll be sad to see Taran and Jay go, but remember every time they lose a cast member there's the potential to gain a Bill Hader or Kate McKinnon. I'm always excited to see who the breakout stars are.

Is Keenan still on the show? I know the writers love him but... c'mon. Enough. It's not that I don't like him, I do, but he's just been around for too long.
posted by bondcliff at 11:31 AM on August 9, 2016

Kenan has survived long enough that he'll get a victory lap if he wants one. I don't see him departing quietly between seasons.

Plus they tend to let people go in seniority-based clumps, as with two years ago, when Nasim Pedrad was allowed to leave of her own volition a week before they axed Brooks Whelan and Noël Wells and John Milhiser in quick succession.
posted by Etrigan at 11:41 AM on August 9, 2016

Here's my thoughts on this.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:43 AM on August 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Kenan's had 13 seasons, which ties him with Seth Meyers. This season he will tie Darrell Hammond, who's currently the longest-serving SNL cast member at 14. And his final show, whenever it happens, had better be a huge victory lap.
posted by Spatch at 2:03 PM on August 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

And dear lord, let Lorne not hire a whole new passel of white dudes.
posted by lauranesson at 2:11 PM on August 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

Damn Jay was amazing, really stood out when he got the chance. Sleepy, creepy Ben Carson was amazing.
posted by kittensofthenight at 5:21 PM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm really surprised about Killam being let go early. I wouldn't have been so surprised if he chose to leave, but it sounds like he was axed and is trying to be diplomatic about it. He's been one of the main players there for years, kind of their go-to guy really. He didn't have a lot of recurring characters but he didn't really need them. He was good in everything, as the straightman or a weirdo. There are a lot of players left now who seem a lot less versatile, frankly. I don't know if SNL players get paid more the longer they stick around, but if so I'd figure this has gotta be all about that.

Jay Pharoh always seemed like he was on the brink of becoming somebody special. His Ben Carson was indeed great, but otherwise I always got the feeling he wasn't living up to his potential.

Has Darrell Hammond's clock been reset as a player? He's on the show as Trump (and Bill Clinton!) so much, he gets more screen time than a lot of the cast!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:57 PM on August 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Kenan is getting more hilarious every year. I'm not ready for him to leave.
posted by amtho at 6:50 PM on August 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

It's like he's starting to relax into hilarity. I really think he's better now than before.
posted by amtho at 6:50 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Here's some interesting news: they'll be cutting their ads by 30% this season, and dropping two commercial breaks, to increase content. But: what kind of content will they be beefing up? Will the show instead boast more overt product placement?

posted by not_on_display at 7:26 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

As long as the product is Happy Fun Ball or Colon Blow, I'm ok with that.
posted by bondcliff at 7:30 PM on August 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm really shocked that they let Killam go. I really thought he was one of the mainstays. I'm glad Che is staying on. He's one of my favorite WE anchors, and while I'm not terribly fond of Jost, Che's reaction shots are the best. I do think this recent cast is carried by the women, though, and I hope they're all called back. Bless Gilda and Jane and Lorraine and Jan and Danitra and Nora and Amy and Tina, but this group of women really have something special, and I think they carry the show.
posted by Ruki at 8:04 PM on August 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Bummer. I really liked those two.

Wasn't it announced a while ago (before the 2015-2016 season started) that last season was Kenan's last too? I hope that changed.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:49 PM on August 9, 2016

There were rumors, but nothing ever official.
posted by Etrigan at 3:10 AM on August 10, 2016

Both Taran and Jay were among the better performers on the show. Grrr.
posted by drezdn at 10:22 AM on August 10, 2016

Jay was a solid impressionist, one of the better in the show's history, but his only memorable original/recurring character was Principal Frye. ("Attention teachers and students... [huff puff]") That character cracked me up to no end, but other than Shaq, Jay never went truly over the top like he did there.

My lasting impression of how good Taran COULD have been, like Sudekis-level good, was Jebediah Atkinson. He brought David Spade's Hollywood Minute into the 21st century via the 19th century – a great concept, excecuted masterfully. But other than that, they never seemed to give him anything else besides the nice-guy filler role. He never dominated any one sketch he was in (save for the Parisian Teens dancing sketches, which were also brilliant).

They were both extremely talented, but under-utilized even for the amount of screen-time they were on the show, and all the really popping characters went to just about everyone else, all of whom are multi-faceted while also having a quality that makes them unique. But to me, Taran was always playing the good-looking white guy, and Jay was only wheeled in when they needed a black guy impression.

I will, however, regret not seeing any more of Jon Rudnitsky's interpretive dances. I hope he stole Channing Tatum's role in Dirty Dancing as a fallback.
posted by not_on_display at 8:44 PM on August 10, 2016

Taran is off to bigger things for sure, maybe Lorne got wind of some thing he's going to be doing and had a problem with it. Jay is classic and will land on his feet, and I believe Rudnitsky already has a fairly successful standup career.
posted by rhizome at 1:58 AM on August 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

When he arrived, Killam was supposed to be the Next Big Star to come out of SNL, but for whatever reason, he never caught fire with me. Which is not to say that he wasn't solid -- he was as solid as they come. I just never got that sense of connectivity; he took his comedy too seriously, perhaps.

But Jay I will miss terribly. I always found him criminally underused. He never got the exposure he warranted. I fully expected him to be the Next Big Star.

Enh -- right now, the show is, as Ruki says, being carried by the women, and I'm here for that. The white dudes can all take a step back.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:28 AM on August 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

My favorite thing Taran Killan did was never aired. I, too, learned this Robyn dance for a friend's birthday, and I looked as exactly silly doing it.
posted by lauranesson at 7:51 PM on August 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

I thought Jay was good as Shaq but it was always Keenan's responses [as Barkley] that really brought the laughter for me. My personal favorite thing that Jay did was the car rental sketch with Drake - he managed to keep it afloat single-handedly as Drake was doing his best to sink it.

I couldn't tell you my favorite Taran skit, which says something. He was 100% solid in everything but never stood out. I mean the whole Jebidiah Atkinson thing was pretty good - oh, wait, no, I just thought about his work as Cory in all the Right Side of the Bed skits with Cecily. Those always made me laugh.

Every week I watched for Rudnitsky and every week I was like, "I think I saw him in the background over there ..."

Hey, so as long as we're talking about the new season of SNL: do you think Leslie Jones' rocket to fame as the Number One Olympics Fan is going to maybe earn her a bit more space on the show? She always seems a bit flat when she's called on for a bit part but when she's given space to go big she really shines. See: Naked & Afraid: Celebrity Edition with Peter Dinklage.
posted by komara at 9:47 AM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Rudnitsky was in Space Pants, but I only remember that because he arrived late to it, and I'm not 100 percent certain that it's not Pete that I'm thinking of.
posted by Etrigan at 10:59 AM on August 14, 2016

Rudnitsky bits that I can remember:
- Space Pants (because he was late)
- Weekend Update with his ... uh ... tribute? to Dirty Dancing
- some sock hop skit with Miley Cyrus, only because I was thinking at the time, "Oh they gave Rudnitsky something to do."

That's it. I know I've seen him in more but those are literally the only ones that come to mind.
posted by komara at 2:54 PM on August 14, 2016

I know it's recency bias, but I can't think of another one-season performer with such an amazing bit as Rudnitsky's Dirty Dancing.
posted by Etrigan at 3:47 PM on August 14, 2016 you think Leslie Jones' rocket to fame as the Number One Olympics Fan is going to maybe earn her a bit more space on the show?

I just now watched a bit of her at the Olympics, and a couple of days ago I read a piece about her in the New Yorker from January. One thing I can say after her second season on the show is that I am STILL so thrilled for her.

I think Lorne saw potential in her once Chris ROck got her on his radar, and he and wasn't afraid to have her flub a couple lines or miss a few cues early on, as she'd never done sketch before, and her personality is enough to carry her. But I think everyone's betting Leslie's going to get better and better as her career progresses and she gets more camera-time. She's either going to be on the show a long long time, or will leave it within three years to springboard into something super-famous. But I'd bet 50¢ we will see her more next season, and not just on SNL.
posted by not_on_display at 4:16 PM on August 14, 2016

Whatever Jones' merits in filmed things and Weekend Update stuff where she can basically do standup, she got off to a rough, rough start as a live sketch performer. I'm kind of hoping her increased profile doesn't lead to more sketch bits because it seems like she's years away from working at the SNL level and it's not much fun watching her fumble her lines every week. (Although she is good in filmed bits. She already almost seems like a movie star who guest hosting and not doing a great job of it.)

More than shaking up the cast, I think they really need to make some changes in the writer's room. The show hasn't been actually bad for a long time, but it's been in kind of a comfy groove for a while now. There are the occasional wild, break-out sketches, Space Pants and the Dead Poets Society parody and other stuff, but this cast is crackling with potential and I really don't get the feeling we're seeing the best sketches that get written every week. Some of the very best stuff they're doing is only getting seen on Youtube, and that's not how it's supposed to work.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:23 PM on August 14, 2016

I've wondered about that too, and I have to think that there are some hinky priorities behind the door of the writer's room. It's the only explanation I can think of.
posted by rhizome at 10:07 PM on August 14, 2016

Some of the very best stuff they're doing is only getting seen on Youtube, and that's not how it's supposed to work.

Case in point: The Establishment Shuffle.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:42 PM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

More than shaking up the cast, I think they really need to make some changes in the writer's room.

‘SNL’ Promotes Sarah Schneider and Chris Kelly to Co-Head Writers
This promotion is a super smart move for SNL considering Schneider and Kelly are responsible for some of the show’s most beloved sketches since they joined the show in 2011 like “The Beygency,” “Back Home Ballers,” the Emmy-nominated “(Do It On My) Twin Bed,” “Bern Your Enthusiasm,” and “Bar Talk” with Hillary Clinton...
posted by Etrigan at 7:21 AM on August 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Wasn't Jost the head writer? Did he get demoted, or is he just too focused on Update now?

It sort of sounds like they're shaking things up this season. I'm surprised, because you figure with the election going on they'd be fine sticking mostly with what they have. I'm all in favor of change on SNL though.
posted by bondcliff at 7:51 AM on August 15, 2016

Jost was a co-head-writer with Bryan Tucker and Rob Klein, but he was quietly dropped out of the troika before last season, presumably to focus on WU. No indication yet as to whether Tucker and Klein are out of the co- jobs as well, but there have never been four co-head-writers, so they're probably gone.
posted by Etrigan at 8:04 AM on August 15, 2016

This Vanity Fair article "How Saturday Night Live Just Took a Huge Step Away from Toxic Bro Humor" has given me some pause re: Taran and my personal favorite skits of his (Cory in Right Side of the Bed). It's one of those things that when someone points it out you're like, "Oh, wow, I feel like a jerk for not seeing that."

(or my personal excuse would be that consumption of alcohol during viewing prevents me from forming the long-term memories needed to string together successive events into a coherent whole)

aaaaaaanyway point is: I like Taran fine but Vanity Fair (and the Salon article they quote) are right, he does use 'gay' as a punchline far too often.
posted by komara at 9:59 AM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Jay Pharoah is a loss, but SNL never used him as well or as often as they could have. He may be better off without them.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:14 AM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pouring one out for Jay and Taran, this is the one that made me perk up and notice them.

I haven't read that VF article, but I would certainly agree that the tenor of the show needs redirection.
posted by rhizome at 10:30 AM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

If I can drop some hopeful and unfounded speculation into this discussion: On Saturday September 24 Weird Al is performing at Radio City Music Hall (across the street from 30 Rock for those unfamiliar with NYC geography). A drop-in maybe, if not an official musical guest?
posted by DanSachs at 11:13 AM on August 15, 2016

From what I've seen of Wierd Al as the Band Leader for the Comedy Bang Bang TV show, I think he should be the musical guest EVERYWHERE. ALL. THE. TIME.
posted by not_on_display at 2:47 PM on August 15, 2016

He's a national god damn treasure is what he is.
posted by rhizome at 5:55 PM on August 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would love to see Weird Al on SNL but I just don't see it happening. As much as I love him and think he's an underrated genius, he's still dismissed as a novelty by a lot of people. He's never struck me as someone who would be considered a friend of the show. Same with having him do the half time show at The Superbowl. We KNOW it would kick ass but none of the muckity mucks higher up would consider him.

Maybe that will change now that he's got the gig on Comedy Bang Bang and a #1 album. I think he's also tight with Seth Meyers, which could get him an in.

Plus they seem like they're mostly booking guests that appeal to the young, hip crowd. I know this because I almost never recognize the musical guests unless they throw a bone to a long-established act like U2 or Springsteen.
posted by bondcliff at 8:13 AM on August 16, 2016

Ed Koch hosted once, they can handle it. :P
posted by rhizome at 9:55 PM on August 16, 2016

And yeah, I think Courtney Barnett was the most obscure musical guest they've had in years, and I wouldn't be surprised if Fred Armisen had to go to bat for that, or it was a contingency up front.

There hasn't been a "1978 Devo" on there since, oh let's see, maybe Sleigh Bells in 2012? Even then they were playing 3000 seat shows. Drawing the line at an artist having already received a Gold Record or Grammy nomination, I think the next previous possibilities are:
  • Elliot Smith '98 (possible Grammy DQ),
  • Paul Westerberg '93,
  • Teenage Fanclub '92,
  • Michael Penn's share of the guest slot in 87,
  • Replacements '86,
  • Stray Cats '83,
  • The Bus Boys and Squeeze in '82,
  • George Thorogood was possibly still under the radar in '82,
  • Sparks and Mink de Ville the previous '82 season,
  • Fear '81, which looks to be the end of the original weird music era.
The 80-81 Ebersol era up to then had Kid Creole, Capt. Beefheart, 1980-vintage James Brown, Joe "King" Carrasco, Funky Four Plus One, Todd Rundgren, and Prince. The Fear theory seems to hold a little water.
posted by rhizome at 10:58 PM on August 16, 2016

Also, Season 11, Lorne's return, seemed to have a good chunk of acts relatively under-the-radar (by mainstream US pop standards):
Season 11, Episode 6: Dream Academy, The Cult
Season 11, Episode 13: Philip Glass
Season 11, Episode 18: George Clinton & P-Funk

After that, it just seems like whoever had the hits, got on. Except for my favorite band-out-of-nowhere...

Season 15, Episode 19: The episode that Sinead O'Connor and Nora Dunn boycotted because Andrew Dice Clay was hosting. Filling in for Sinead were Julee Cruise (who had a minor hit album, riding on her Twin Peaks connection) ... and The Spanic Boys, who were a relatively unknown father/son band from Milwaukee, and who ended up tearing it up! (RIP Tom Spanic. 2016, man...)
posted by not_on_display at 11:33 PM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Spanic Boys was an oversight, one I didn't click. I assumed they were a Harry Anderson.

Dream Academy had a hit. "She Sells Sanctuary" was probably not as big as it feels in hindsight, so a split slot makes sense, though weird for SNL. I'll give you Clinton, though he was extremely established by '86. Philip Glass is in that Eubie Blake "Other" category with Leon Redbone, but still a legit guest, so yeah.

Julee Cruise is also in the "Other" category. She had hype from TV and the instrumental version of the song she sang was going to win the Grammy for Pop Instrumental for that year. It was everywhere!

It was a trip walking back the seasons like that. It's such a different show now, even from the Phil Hartman era.
posted by rhizome at 12:28 AM on August 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Was Alabama Shakes a thing before they guested?
posted by Etrigan at 3:22 AM on August 17, 2016

And yeah, I think Courtney Barnett was the most obscure musical guest they've had in years

A couple of years ago they had St. Vincent on. I had never heard of her (but admittedly I'm way out of touch) and she didn't seem like the typical pop act that they usually have. She felt kind of obscure but I really liked her.

A few years ago they had a band called Haim, who I honestly haven't heard anything from before or since. It was like they were invented to be the musical guest on that one show.

Again, I'm way out of touch so maybe they were/are huge, I dunno.

Was Alabama Shakes a thing before they guested?

I think they were booked based on that one hit that was being played at the time.
posted by bondcliff at 7:07 AM on August 17, 2016

Dream Academy had a hit. "She Sells Sanctuary"

<pedantry>The Cult sang "She Sells Sanctuary", which was relatively unknown at the time; Dream Academy sang "Life in a Northern Town", which was more ear-pleasing and got slightly more airplay, which was a hit, but not a Smash Hit. </pedantry> I bought both the albums and saw The Cult open for Billy Idol based on that show. The Cult was all over WBCN and my car's cassette deck that summer.
posted by not_on_display at 9:23 AM on August 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I saw The Cult open for Metallica and Faith No More open for Billy Idol.

Man, music sure was awesome in my day and then overnight it coincidentally started sucking once I got into my late twenties and no longer had time to keep up. I'm glad peak music happened during my teenage and early twenties.
posted by bondcliff at 9:58 AM on August 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm glad peak music happened during my teenage and early twenties.

Clearly, we are exactly the same age.
posted by Etrigan at 10:06 AM on August 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I skipped right to their co-guests too subtly. Replace the period with ", and." :)
posted by rhizome at 2:38 PM on August 17, 2016

Clearly, we are exactly the same age.

more derail: Bondcliff and I are exactly the same age, born a few hours and miles apart, but same day. I met him on the same day I met Jessamyn. Now we have birthday parties every year. We've started a club.

However, peak music is still happening and will continue until I die, and even then peak music will continue on, I just won't be there to groove to it. And some shitty bands will be on SNL, and some good ones, too.

HOWEVER! IF I SEE KANYE WEST ON SNL ANYMORE, ... I'll take a bathroom break like I always do.

ANYWAY SNL! Vanity Fair article from three days ago. I think we've reached peak Brah, thankfully.
posted by not_on_display at 8:55 PM on August 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

Great article. It would be awesome if the show got smarter.
posted by rhizome at 9:13 PM on August 17, 2016

"HOWEVER! IF I SEE KANYE WEST ON SNL ANYMORE, ... I'll take a bathroom break like I always do."

My girlfriend always gets up from the couch to go smoke a cigarette and get another drink right before the first musical performance. It's part of the ritual that I frequently get to call through the house, "WEEKEND UPDATE IS STARTING. GET BACK IN HERE."

at some point she'll say, "How was the music?" and I almost invariably reply, "eh."

Seriously, there's nothing makes me feel older than the musical guests on SNL, especially Kanye. I toadally respect that man for what he's done but that doesn't mean I understand the appeal of his newer stuff. I can think of only four (non-Kanye) performances in the past few years that I enjoyed and would watch again:
- Florence & The Machine
- Chandelier by Sia
- Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus just because she showed us there how powerful she could be live
- and then that one time that Chris Cornell sang the chorus on that one country band song. my girlfriend was really into that.

so that's four out of ... uh ... dozens, I guess. So little of it appeals to me. I especially dislike when the Kurgan shows up with his band of ragtag misfits, whatever their name is. Something Fire.

my point here is: as an old person the music rarely appeals to me and I would cut the performances in a heartbeat if it meant 5% more McKinnon in my life.
posted by komara at 9:25 PM on August 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I always think I'm going to hear Tommy performed on SNL because when they announce the musical guest my mind goes "who?"
posted by DanSachs at 5:35 AM on August 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

I dunno, HAIM wasn't all that known when they played in 2013. Their performance had me transfixed.
posted by frecklefaerie at 4:58 PM on August 18, 2016

SNL's confirmed everyone else is returning. Here's the EW article, but you may want to turn your sound down before you click this—there's a really annoying auto-play video blurb that begins with loud high-pitched whine. What the fuck, EW!
posted by not_on_display at 12:06 AM on August 27, 2016

Four new featured players.
posted by Etrigan at 12:47 PM on September 12, 2016

I'm not sure Chris Redd is actually joining. Although I have nothing more concrete than a few tweets linked from /r/livefromnewyork. I think something is up because the NY Daily News article mentions him in the URL and tags but not the headline or article.
posted by Gary at 1:57 PM on September 12, 2016

Some of my fancy comedy writer buddies are friends with the new writers, and hope is high over here in the New York City. Fingers crossed.
posted by lauranesson at 6:46 AM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hate to be that guy, but I remember comedy people in my Twitter feed going, "Fuck yeah, Taran Killam!" when he was brought on. Everybody's friends with someone, and my sense is that it takes a huge professional network even to be considered.

Cautious optimism is my strategy, too.
posted by rhizome at 9:17 AM on September 22, 2016

Cautious optimism is my strategy, too.

Remember, the show is bigger than any single person (unless that person is Eddie Murphy). It resists changes in direction and only allows them slowly and with considerable effort. It's accrued 41 years of momentum.
posted by Etrigan at 9:41 AM on September 22, 2016

Margot Robbie hosting October 1, with musical guest The Weeknd.
posted by Gary at 11:38 AM on September 24, 2016

We should do a pool on how many Brad Pitt jokes there will be.
posted by rhizome at 12:15 PM on September 25, 2016

Now that Taran's gone, who will do them?
posted by Etrigan at 2:25 PM on September 25, 2016 [3 favorites]

Now that Taran's gone, who will do them?

Kate McKinnon.
posted by not_on_display at 8:09 PM on September 29, 2016

Lin-Manuel Miranda is hosting Oct. 8th, because SNL was the only thing left in my life that wouldn't shut the fuck up about Hamilton.

Actually I'm looking forward to that show. He's a talented dude and I expect great things.
posted by bondcliff at 6:13 AM on September 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

This thread mentioned Lin-Manuel Miranda and Weird Al, so technically it's on topic for me to post them singing Yoda together.
posted by Gary at 11:44 AM on September 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older Podcast: My Brother, My Brothe...   |  Steven Universe: Back to the M... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments