In an article appearing on the New York Times website this weekend and in the paper on Monday, it announced the new featured players for Saturday Night Live‘s 39th season.
There will be a total of six featured players rather than the previous reported five new additions. Stand-up comedian Brooks Wheelan, Good Neighbor improvisers Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney, UCB improviser John Milhiser, UCB improviser Noël Wells, and current SNL writer Michael Patrick O’Brien.
Buried within the article was the fact that Tim Robinson, who was a featured cast member last season, has been moved from being a member of the cast to serving on the writing staff. This move is unprecedented. Previously, when a member left the cast following their being a featured player, they did not stay on as a member of the writing staff.
Yours truly has lived in the Chicago area and studied acting and improv/sketch comedy at the historic Second City theater on North and Wells. I met Pat O’Brien following his last night on Mainstage and stayed for the after party. He’s been able to get sketches on the air and I can’t wait to see him breakout as a performer on SNL.
At the same time, I know Tim Robinson, too, from having seen him perform at Second City and originally meeting him at iO Chicago. He’s a great guy and while I’m bummed that he’s moving on from the cast, he’ll do just fine as a writer.
The only other change is Cecily Strong, another veteran of the Chicago improv scene, is joining Seth Meyers as a Weekend Update co-host. Following the announcement, she was profiled by the New York Post. Meyers had been going solo at the desk since Amy Poehler left but he’s taking over the reigns of Late Night after the Olympics. The question is: how will this affect Cecily’s time in sketches?
The only thing that bums me out about Strong moving to Update: The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party will no longer be a recurring Update character.