Two familiar faces on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” will be out of the lineup when the venerable sketch show returns this fall for its 42nd season. TVLine reports that Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah are leaving the show.
Both men have been on “SNL” for six seasons, with Pharoah probably best-known for his impression of President Obama. Killam has reportedly done more than 100 impressions on the show, making him part of an exclusive club along with only Darrell Hammond, Fred Armisen and Kenan Thompson.
Killam’s impressions have included Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Tom Brady, Matthew McConaughey and Brad Pitt, to name a few.
In addition to Obama, Pharoah has impersonated a broad range of celebrities including Jay-Z, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington and Stephen A. Smith.
TVLine notes that both Killam, 34, and Pharoah, 28, are leaving to “pursue other opportunities,” with both men having a number of other projects in the works. But Killam said in an interview published Monday by Uproxx that it wasn’t clear to him why he was off the show.
“I don’t know the other side of it,” Killam told the publication. “You sign for seven years, so I had one more year. I had sort of had it in my head I would make this upcoming year my last year, but then heard they weren’t going to pick up my contract. I was never given a reason why, really.”
Killam, who is currently directing Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Why We’re Killing Gunther,” added that “it feels like an appropriate time” to be leaving the show.
Here’s a clip posted by the show from last fall — a cold open that spoofs a GOP primary debate, in which Killam plays Ted Cruz and Pharoah appears as Dr. Ben Carson, joined by Darrell Hammond and others.