Taran Killiam and Jay Pharoah are departing the SNL line-up which will lead a big void in the show’s political themed sketches.
Two versatile and talented comedians are leaving the Saturday Night Live line-up prior to season 42. Taran Killiam and Jay Pharoah are leaving the show for good and no specific reason has been given for their departure from the show.
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Taran Killiam was already an alumnus of the Groundlings comedy troupe when he joined “Saturday Night Live” as a featured player in 2010. He became a member of its main cast in 2012.
He has worked on the show for six years now. During his tenure, he has developed a great variety in his impersonation profile including Michael Cera and Brad Pitt, as well as political figures like Senator Ted Cruz and Speaker Paul D. Ryan.
He briefly played the Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump. Talking to Uproxx in an interview, Taran revealed that he had a seven year contract with the show.
The show however did not pick up his contract for the seventh year which marked his departure. Killiam is also working on his directorial debut with Arnold Schwarzenegger on a project "Why We're Killing Gunther."
NBC representative Lauren Roseman also confirmed that Jay Pharoah is also leaving the show. Pharoah was the youngest African American performer after Eddie Murphy. Pharoah was a stand-up comedian prior to starring on the show. H
e also developed quite an impersonation profile including President Barack Obama, Jay-Z, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington and former GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson. The reasons for his departure are unknown.
Both these stars were crucial to the show’s political themed sketches as they impersonated a variety of politicians. With the presidential elections coming up and President leaving the White House, there are a lot of sketches just waiting to happen that will not have the expert touch of these two brilliant performers.
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TVLine first reported about this news.