Report: 'Saturday Night Live' adding three new cast members

snl-cast-narrowImage Credit: Kevin Parry/WireImage.comOut with the old, in with the new: NBC’s Saturday Night Live is reportedly adding three new cast members for its upcoming season. The lucky newbies? Actor/comedian Taran Killam, who’s appeared on Mad TV and How I Met Your Mother (Killam is also the boyfriend of HIMYM star Cobie Smulders) and Chicago-based comedians Paul Brittain and Vanessa Bayer. Nearly every season, SNL faces cast changes: just last week, series regular Will Forte announced he wouldn’t be returning to the show. A rep for SNL had no comment for EW other than no contracts had been signed for new cast members yet.

What do you think about these potential new SNL stars, PopWatchers? Do they have what it takes?

Read more:
‘Saturday Night Live': Will Forte reportedly leaving on amicable terms. ‘Vagisil!’

Comments (188 total) Add your comment
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  • Ceballos

    This is great news for Kenan Thompson…

    Since the show refuses to add a funny, African-American comedian/comedienne, he still has a lock on playing every black character they impersonate…no matter how wrong he is for it.

    • Woot

      Fred Armesin plays Barack Obama… And I doubt they refuse to hire any african americans

      • Ceballos

        They have a Venezuelan/German/Japanese guy playing Obama, and (besides Kenan Thompson) the last African American cast member was Finesse Mitchell, who left the show in 2006 and I don’t think he was ever more than a featured player…

        …but you’re right…this isn’t an issue for SNL.

      • Ceballos

        …oh, and I forgot Maya Rudolph, who left the show in 2007…so it’s “only” been three years.

    • sarah

      agreed. i’m white and even I’M annoyed. seriously, lorne michaels? people who are not white are funny, too!

      • Blacks R Funny too, Lorne

        Guess what Lorne Michaels there are some funny black comics out there too. And no Kenan Thompson isn’t one of them. Would it kill SNL to hire one black comedienne? I think they’ve had 2 in 35 years. What about an Asian and Hispanic comics? It doesn’t have be U.N. on SNL but good lord can we mix it up a bit? As Kenan would say “Wat up with dat?”

      • Teza Lwin

        Word. Not just African Americans, but have there even been Asians on the show? Latinos would be nice too. Anything. More women, even, regardless of race, but I would really like to see some variety on that show. It’s like it’s still 1976.

      • Jammy

        Wow REally?! You saw that they hired 3 new cast members for SNL and your first response is they are not balck ? wtf? My first response was are they going to be funny – if you want a colour blind society you shouldn’t be judging that way – lest thee be judged – so if Jim Carrey, Robin Williams & Chelsea Handler auditioned for snl you would say no because they happened to be white? I don’t believe in disqualifying anyone for what happened on the day they were born you shouldn’t judge so discriminately

      • jason.

        I’m starting to wonder if no black comediennes are auditioning. Or for that matter, any other non-white men or women.

        That’s one of the ways Mad TV got the edge on SNL when they were on the air…hell, they should be knocking on some of their doors.

        Of course, it could wind up being Tim “my only appearance is in the opening credits” Meadows all over again.

      • candaceTX

        think of the most famous, talented, and sucessful comedians of the past two generations… Cosby, Rock, Murphy, Pryor, Chappelle… that is nearly a pantheon of comedy genius.. what more proof is Lorne waiting on exactly?

      • sashay

        I would love to see Bobby Lee (MAD TV) on there. And Ari Spears! I think I would even watch the show again if they were on it. Really need to improve the writing, though. Otherwise cast additions are just icing on the cake – you need a solid comedy sketch under there.

      • SJ

        I was hoping some of the Madtv cast would have ended up on SNL. I’m pretty loyal to SNL but for awhile Madtv was a lot funnier, more off the wall and more original.

      • Matt

        Jammy, you’re missing the point. No one is saying “don’t hire white actors if they are qualified,” just that SNL SHOULD diversify a bit and hire someone who isn’t white for once. I can’t stand watching Kenan be forced to do an impression of an African American that he can’t really do a good impression of. Get more diversity.

    • Michael

      Keenan is awful.

      • Chris


      • candaceTX

        hey… he rocked that nickelodeon show…and the fat albert movie… what more dya want?

    • Jammy

      Wow some of you people on here…when I first saw the pix of the new cast members my first reaction was – “hope they are funny” not the colour of their skin, which you are s not suppose to notice in a color blind society – which I thought was your goal — its a comedy show not the u.n. – by that standard if Jim Carrey, Robin williams & Chelsea Handler all applied for SNL you’d all say no? — I think Keenan doesnt mind being a prime player in every show & his Whoopi is funnier than the real one + SNL can add players at any time so not to be distressed …did you know there is no audition proces for snl anyways? They find you – they don’t accept blind submissions

    • Eater of Food

      The problem with most African American comedians is that they are usually black.

      • Rock Golf

        Yeah, that reaaaallly held back Eddie Murphy. (not)

      • candaceTX

        think of the most famous, talented, and sucessful comedians of the past two generations… Cosby, Rock, Murphy, Pryor, Chappelle… that is nearly a pantheon of comedy genius.. what more proof is Lorne waiting on exactly

      • sashay

        Well to be fair both Rock and Murphy gained their buzz from being SNL cast members. Maybe there aren’t that many Asian and black comedians coming up thru the Second City ranks. I’m pretty sure that is a prime recruiting ground for SNL.

    • Uh huh.

      As far as Black Comics go, the best kept secret is Affion Crockett. He is a mimic genius, his celebrity impersonations and well-produced skits are beloved and are highly popular in urban culture. You might remember him from Nick Cannon’s MTV Show Wild-n-Out. Surprised no one has put a bug in Lorne Michael’s ear yet about auditioning Affion or showing Lorne his You Tube Channel “Oskamill”.

  • john

    More white people..Zzzzzzzz

    • mary q contrary

      Seriously. It’s getting kind of ridiculous.

  • Allen

    they probably tan easily….

  • Kristina

    I used to put up with SNL only for Will Forte, now I have no reason to watch.

    • Hoang

      Shut up Kristina.

  • Kate

    Wake me when Bobby Moynihan is made a full-time cast member. He deserves it.

    • who cares

      i bet you are a lot of fun at parties

      • Rock Golf

        Sshhhh! Don’t wake Kate.

  • hel

    Is Lorne Michaels unaware that there are funny people of color? How about a dark skinned black woman? Or *gasp* an Asian?

    • JJ

      Did you hear Dr. Laura? They’re all on HBO saying…

    • Michael

      Are talented people of color auditioning for the show? We’re turning this into a race thing when, it seems, most people with talent(of any color) wouldn’t be caught dead on this show. SNL is awful.

      • Dana

        YOU are awful. Do you even have any respectable acting credits?? I didn’t think so…shut your mouth. Love, Everyone at Second City.

    • Andrew Trentacosta

      Not Bobby Lee, please!

      • sashay

        What! How can you not like/love Bobby Lee? He does the best Chenbot ever!!

    • But

      Asian people aren’t funny.

      • But Kicker

        Do you have to work hard to be a moron or does it just come naturally?

    • Vanity Feral

      Nasim Pedrad is asian.

      • John B.

        Yep. And looks white. Isn’t that convenient for SNL? “See, we do hire Asians!”

  • Brian

    I had high hopes for Keenan but he was funnier on Nickelodeon. Bring back Horatio Sanz if you want a cast member.

    • tracy bluth

      They should really bring back Watkins…letting her go was the biggest mistake ever.

      • Shea

        I totally agree. The B***h Pleeze blogger was one of the funniest characters I’ve seen in a long time.

      • Ann

        Wow. If I had to list the worst characters ever on SNL the “B***h Pleeze” woman would be at the top with goat boy right behind her.

    • TMB

      “I had high hopes for Keenan but he was funnier on Nickelodeon.”

      Perhaps the problem isn’t with the performers, but the writing.

    • Maddie

      What they should do is bring in Kel and lots of orange soda. Awww! Those were the good ole’ days. The original All That cast was actually pretty funny.

  • nich

    Yay, more non-minorities. Thank god for SNL, those people would never get hired.

  • Nicotine

    Taran Killam did some improve comedy on MTV’s Wild N Out and he was decent on there. I think he’ll be an excellent addition to the show.

    • MK

      I thought he looked familiar. Thanks.

    • Will

      I don’t know…never really found him that funny…but we’ll see.


      He was also on the Amanda Show a long time ago with Amanda Bynes, and also “Big Fat Liar” with her as well. He also starred in a Disney Channel original movie. What can I say, I am a child of the 90’s. With that said, I can’t STAND the guy. I have been watching SNL despite it’s decline for seasons now but this decision will make me stop watching. I’m not kidding, he is terrible.

    • UMNo

      Improv comedy. And he really sucked on that. Him and Mikey Day. Rob Hoffman was the only good white guy on that show. He sucked on Madtv too. Not excited about this except for that other guy added to the show…. because he’s cute. XD

  • Jeremy

    Taran Killam (who I might add is the luckiest man alive, given that he’s tappin’ Cobie Smulders on a regular basis) was also the “Overly Handzy Orderly” on Scrubs…

    • Jeremy


      • K

        Thank you – thought he looked a little familiar.

    • Ugh

      Tappin’? Really?

  • tracy bluth

    Is it sad that when I saw Taran Killam I immediately thought “He was that guy on The Amanda Show!”?

    • Jill

      I thought the same thing!

    • Carrie #2

      I just clicked on that link to his IMDB page, and you’re totally right!! I’m so embarrassed that I didn’t think of that first. Gotta admit though, I thought he was Crazy Steve on Drake and Josh/Spencer from iCarly (I believe both are the same actor) just from the picture, but you’re absolutely right. Thanks for the memory jog!

  • K

    I am holding out hope that Kenan will be shown the door. Most of his skits aren’t funny and the ones that are, could be done by any other cast member.
    I do have to agree – why can’t they find more diverse people in terms of color or even nationality? I don’t think someone should just be put on the show because of their color, but come on – we all know there are plenty of funny people who aren’t white out there.

    • K

      I think the Daily Show right now is a good example of a show where everyone doesn’t look alike or have the same background.

      • TGH

        Because they have one black person and one Indian on their show? They only have two women (one who isn’t on it much at all). Most of the time it’s just middle-aged white guys… I’m not complaining, because it’s funny, but let’s not say it’s something it isn’t.

      • Rachel

        Last time I checked they had 2 black guys, an Indian guy, a Vietnamese girl, a white girl, and three white guys. They could do a lot worse.

  • Boo-Hoo

    Boo hoo hoo, enough with the PC whining. I’m black and Lorne Michaels wouldn’t be doing me any favors if he hired another black guy. I don’t think there are anymore Eddie Murphys coming down the pike so get real. There hasn’t been a sista on the show since Danitra Vance, though, and that was over 20 years ago so maybe I agree on that front. Funny how Lorne can hire three unknowns yet he fired Michaela Watkins, I loved her.

    • Brett

      No “sistahs” since Danitra Vance, 20 years ago? You’re forgetting Ellen Cleghorne (1991-1995).

      • Badger31201

        OK, so he was off by 5 years. 1995 was 15 yrs ago

      • OMGq

        Sorry, but Michaela Watkins was so not funny. I was THRILLED when she got canned.

      • FunnyIzU

        Um – Maya Rudolph

    • Ceballos


      It’s not about PC whining. It’s not about getting a black guy in there, just to have a black guy in there and get people like me off their backs. It’s about opportunity. As much flack as SNL gets these days, it can still be a pretty major platform for an unknown comic.

      You say that there’s not another Eddie Murphy coming down the pike. Well, Eddie Murphy didn’t become “Eddie Murphy” until he got on SNL and absolutely killed it.

      Killam, Brittain and Bayer could turn out to be the best things that ever happened to the show (and, since I watch every week, I hope they’re funny). However, I have a hard time believing that there isn’t a single talented comedian out there who also happens to be a minority and deserving of a shot at this stage.

      If everybody thought like you, we NEVER would’ve gotten Eddie Murphy. (And I’m talking 80’s/early 90’s Murphy…not awful Family Movies Murphy.)

      • Karate Pants

        Well said. I think of every comedian I’ve personally seen at comedy clubs locally, not to mention the comedians that other TV shows and media outlets feature (like now-defunct Best Week Ever, guests on Chelsea Lately, Last Comic Standing, etc.), and I just don’t get it. There are some truly talented funny people out there, and everyone can find them EXCEPT Lorne Michaels/SNL scouts. Not a fluke.

      • David Levy

        From my perspective, it’s a simple matter of filling out the roles. For example, the program has no one in its cast to play Michelle Obama. (There have been guest appearances by Maya Rudolph, but she’s half white and looks nothing like the First Lady.)

        I’ve commented for years that Nyima Funk (a very talented improv/sketch actress, comedian and singer, who happens to be black) would be an excellent addition to the program, and Lorne has instead hired one of her “Wild ‘N Out” co-stars (a white guy, of course).

      • Eater of Food

        When do you hear white people whining about not getting hip hop record deals? Geez. Get over yourself.

      • Brian

        I heart you, Ceballos.

      • jason.

        Exactly. Plus, as the show does so much in the way of current events, or even trying to remain relevant to pop culture in general, they can’t justify not having some diversity in their cast.

        Their ability to parody anything that’s happening outside of the Wonderbread world of American Politics and White family dinners (from very poor through exceedingly wealthy) is pretty much crippled.

    • Flyer

      What about Maya Rudolph? (Although I COMPLETELY agree that in all the years of SNL, there should have been quite a few more African-American women in the cast.)

    • Rock Golf

      Doesn’t Maya Rudolph count?

      • Matt S

        As Will Forte said on SNL when they mentioned Maya representing Black History Month a few years back, it is not Half Black History Month.

  • steve

    I agree it’d be nice if the cast had more variety to it. I also happen to think Kenan is by far one of the funniest people currently on SNL ;) His facial expressions just crack me up

    • Ceballos

      Despite my earlier comments, I actually don’t hate Kenan. I think he does great work on the Scared Straight skits and “What’s Up With That?” consistently cracks me up…

      …I just hate that he HAS to play pretty much every black character.

    • Rachel

      Keenan’s reaction shots are too funny.

  • Sandy

    It’s ridiculous to make such comments that SNL doesn’t hire black, Latino, Asian — they hire who is funny and who can do multiple characters. Personally, for me Will Forte was a bore. He was white. Keenan Thompson is hilarious in most every skit he does and Fred Armisen is a standout. Maya Rudolph was excellent and multi-talented. But you have to realize that so many of these actors have other career goals beyond SNL. To expect quota hiring is beyond ridiculous.

    • K

      Not about quotas – it just seems to me that there are a lot of funny people out there who aren’t white so why can’t SNL find them? I’m not sure if they aren’t trying or if maybe SNL is not as attractive as it used to be. Could go either way.
      I do know they have at least one writer who is black, a comic, so I’m not sure why some are just writers and not performers.

      • OMGq

        Maybe because it’s not everyone’s goal to be on SNL or to be on camera. Tina Fey resisted being on camera for years before they talked her into appearing. While everyone here is complaining the simple truth may be that maybe there aren’t a lot of minority comics auditioning to be on the show. While it may seem like a cushy gig on the outside maybe it doesn’t have a great reputation within the comedy circuit.

      • Brian

        I think there’s a chance that a lot of “comedians of color” don’t really think SNL is the place that will best showcase their particular talents. Anyway, I think we need more information before we can condemn Lorne and Marci as some sort of discriminatory hirers. They get all their talent from Second City, UCB, and the Groundlings. Maybe those places don’t attract black, latino, asian, or other non-white talent?

      • jason.

        It’s something I’ve thought about myself. Maybe no-one’s auditioning.
        But I can’t imagine that there aren’t at least some very funny people of every demographic that don’t want to be getting paid NBC money to live in New York and get international TV exposure.

        Hell, they’re in New York. I’m sure there’ve got to be some minority comedians around there somewhere, and out of that group at least one that’s “funny enough” to be on SNL.

        Or, they could do what they’ve done on other occasions and find someone who’s already a bit of a name.

      • teekay

        I’m not sure if SNL has open auditions, so much as invites people to audition or scouts from Second City, The Groundlings, UCB, etc (ie – the improv and sketch community). I’m guessing there are a lot more non-white standups than there are improvisers and if SNL isn’t actively scouting standups or going outside of their established comfort zone, then the odds of them adding non-white cast members aren’t looking too great.

      • Ann

        Mad TV did a much better job finding African Americans who were funny and you never got the feeling they were there because of the color of their skin.

      • Jamie

        I recently read Sarah Silverman’s book and she wrote about her year on the show. Apparently the hours are BRUTAL and the chances of your skit getting on the air are slim. I can see how young comics might be attravted, but for a comic that is doing OK touring the idea of living in NY, not making much money and putting in impossible hours may not be the most appealing. Who knows – maybe Lorne is racist, but I don’t think it’s a simple as that.

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