SNL shakeup: Kate McKinnon and Pete Davidson are leaving

In a major cast shakeup, four Saturday Night Live actors are leaving the show: Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant, and Kyle Mooney.

Will Heath/NBC via AP
Kate McKinnon waves goodbye to Earth while playing Colleen Rafferty during the "Final Encounter" cold open on "Saturday Night Live" in New York on May 21, 2022.

Kate McKinnon and Pete Davidson are among those departing from “Saturday Night Live," leaving the sketch institution without arguably its two most famous names after Saturday's 47th season finale.

Aidy Bryant and Kyle Mooney will also leave the cast after the episode hosted by Natasha Lyonne.

The departures represent one of the biggest cast shake-ups in years on a show that has seen unusual steadiness in recent seasons.

McKinnon, 38, won two Emmys and was nominated for nine in her 10 seasons on the show, during which her impressions included Hillary Clinton, and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Her comic chops with characters like alien abductee Colleen Rafferty frequently drove castmates and guest hosts to lose it live on air.

McKinnon opened the show with a Ms.Raferty skit, and stepping onto an extraterrestrial spaceship said her final goodbyes. “I always felt like an alien on this planet anyway,” she said.  “Well, Earth, I love ya. Thanks for letting me stay a while.”

As The New York Times reported:

Historically, “S.N.L.” has been a bit stingy about allowing its departing cast members to take victory laps on their last shows. For every Kristen Wiig, who got a farewell serenade from Mick Jagger, there are countless other performers who have exited quietly in the off-season and even a few who seemed to be leaving but came back the following fall.

Tonight, however, the powers that be (by which we mean Lorne Michaels) were more generous in permitting the graduating members of the class to take their curtain calls. 

The 28-year-old Davidson joined the cast in 2014 and has appeared in eight seasons. His own outsize personality often outshone the characters he played. His comic commentaries as himself on “Weekend Update” were often his most viral bits. And he was as well-known for his life offscreen — dating Ariana Grande and current girlfriend Kim Kardashian — as on.

“I never imagined this would be my life,” Davidson said during the show. “I appreciate SNL for always having my back, for allowing me to work on myself and grow. Thank you to Lorne for never giving up on me or judging me even when everyone else was, for believing in me and allowing me to have a place I could call home with the memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you.”

Bryant, 35, joined the cast at the same time as McKinnon and has been a constant in sketches ever since, getting four Emmy nominations of her own.

Mooney, 37, appeared in nine seasons starting in 2013.

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