The NBC stalwart Saturday Night Live, now in its 37th year, is a comic mill of sorts, grinding up new talent with an exhausting schedule and shooting them out the other end, either to big-screen stardom (see Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, et al.) or lifelong has-been status. Three of the current team’s most beloved and well-known members, Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg, and Jason Sudeikis, are planning to jump ship after this season and make their bids for bigger glory, Us Weekly reported in the latest issue.
While a rep for the show denied that any final decisions had been made yet, the move makes sense for Wiig and Sudeikis, who have burgeoning film careers—and, in Wiig’s case, an Oscar nomination—although Samberg’s has been a bit of a non-starter so far. (Remember Hot Rod? Didn’t think so.) An insider told the gossip weekly, “It will be a huge blow to the show. Without Andy’s video shorts and Kristen saving every skit, they’ll need help!” and its hard to deny that the three together fill a disproportionately large share of airtime. But more importantly, Wiig and Samberg—along with Sudeikis to a lesser extent—are some of the show’s defining faces. Samberg’s Digital Shorts have been massive viral hits, from “Lazy Sunday” and “Dick in a Box” through “I’m on a Boat” and “I Just Had Sex,” and are probably the only parts of the show many young viewers today have ever seen.
Wiig, for better or worse, is the show’s tent pole, running through a long list of regular characters (the awkward Target Lady, the sexy Shanna, the homicidal Gilly, the insufferable Penelope…) and a number of memorable impersonations (an unnerving Lana Del Rey and a butter-licking Paula Deen just this year alone), which means her replacement will have the largest shoes to fill. Sudeikis, for his part, has slowly developed after a rather tepid start into one of the most dependable cast members.
Their talent notwithstanding, the report comes as a particular blow to me, as it means that I will have absolutely no hope of seeing Wiig and Sudeikis again in my favorite sketches of recent history, the Two A-Holes series. For those who don’t know, Sudeikis and Wiig, conventionally good-looking and instantly memorable, were pitch-perfect every time as the grown-up bro—complete with Bluetooth headset—and his dumb blonde girlfriend, her Louis Vuitton handbag cradled in the crook of her arm. They blathered and complained their way through a workout session with John C. Reilly, a crime scene investigation led by Kevin Spacey, an ad pitch from Jon Hamm, all the while reminding you that, yes, you definitely know people just like these. For my money, their turn with Jeremy Piven as an adoption agent is their best performance, hitting all the notes that made these two characters so true-to-life. If the report proves true, they will be sorely missed.