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SNL Cuts Three Cast Members For Fall 2016 Season

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It’s not unusual for SNL to make roster changes.

In fact, over the course of its 42-year run, the show has made some bold moves, some bad moves and some expected moves.

Their latest team-shedding might very well fall into all three of those categories.

The eternal late night show announced today that three cast members–Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah and Jon Rudnitsky–would not be back in September.

Let’s start with Rudnitsky.

The 26-year-old New Jersey native may have been a rookie, but he had the distinction of being the only new featured-player addition to Season 41. His “Dirty Dancing” parody as well as his Tom Cruise impression were particularly strong and he looked to make a bigger name for himself in the coming seasons. Although it’s not clear what’s next for him, he’s a respected stand-up, so it’s believed he’ll start touring clubs again soon.

The idea that SNL wouldn’t pick up Jay Parhoah’s contract for what would be the 28-year-old’s seventh season on the show, seemed longer than a long shot. Born in Virginia, Pharoah is one of those out-of-the-box geniuses, who got his start doing stand-up and impressions at the tender age of 15. A natural mimic who performs with the kind of gifted ease that summons everyone from Eddie Murphy to Martin Short, Parhoah’s impressions of Will Smith, President Obama and Denzel Washington were instant crowd pleasers. Pharoah didn’t comment on social media about the situation, but the fact that he’s touring big venues for the rest of summer as a stand-up makes us think he’s going to be just fine.

34-year-old Taran Killam figured he’d do one more season before leaving SNL. Like Pharoah, he’s a six-year veteran of the show and his takes on everyone from Matthew McConaughey to Donald Trump were note-for-note perfect. A native of Culver City and husband of actress Colbie Smulders, the highly versatile Killam was, in many ways, the leader of the SNL troupe. “I had sort of had it in my head I would make this upcoming year my last year,” he told Uproxx. “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.” Killam, who’s currently in the middle of directing the film Why We’re Killing Gunther, went on to say: “I set out to be on ‘SNL’ and I got to do that and I did very well,” he said. “And I love and adore and will forever have close ties and tight bonds with the brilliant, smartest, funniest people I’ve ever met in my life. So, I have no gripes at all. I am so, so, so lucky to have been given the time I’ve been given.”