'SNL' Season 48 scorecard: Neuqua Valley grad Chris Redd departs cast
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" begins its 48th season next weekend with first-time host Miles Teller ("Top Gun: Maverick") -- and a host of first-time cast members.
It has been an offseason of great upheaval for the comedy behemoth that has seen the departure of eight cast members: perennial standouts Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant; gossip favorite Pete Davidson; Kyle Mooney, the king of quirk; longtime utility players Alex Moffat and Melissa Villasenor; and single-season hire Aristotle Athari.
The eighth departure, announced this past Tuesday, is Neuqua Valley High School grad Chris Redd, who joined the cast in 2017 and won an Emmy in his first season for co-writing "Come Back Barack," a song performed by Redd, "SNL" stalwart Kenan Thompson and Chicago's own Chance the Rapper, who hosted the episode.
In a statement to Variety, Redd called being an "SNL" cast member "the experience of a lifetime."
"Now, with friends who have become family and memories I will cherish forever, I'm grateful to Lorne Michaels and to the entire 'SNL' organization," he said. "From the bottom of my heart, I can't thank you all enough."
Redd's collaboration with NBC also extended to a six-episode sitcom, "Bust Down," that premiered on Peacock earlier this year.
Next up for Redd: He filmed a standup comedy special for HBO Max last month in St. Louis; no airdate has yet been announced.
Four new players were announced last week: Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker.
Thompson will begin his 20th season on "SNL" with Oct. 1's show featuring musical guest Kendrick Lamar. That extends his title as the longest-running cast member in the show's history; Darrell Hammond is No. 2 at 14.
He'll be joined by Cecily Strong in her 11th season; "Weekend Update" duo Michael Che and Colin Jost; 2022 Emmy nominee Bowen Yang; veteran cast members Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner and Ego Nwodim; and more recent additions Andrew Dismukes, James Austin Johnson, Punkie Johnson and Sarah Sherman.
And what's next?
Assuming it stays on the air, "SNL" will begin an astounding 50th season in the fall of 2024, just months before creator/executive producer/Dr. Evil inspiration Lorne Michaels celebrates his 80th birthday. The gravity of those two numbers seems to provide a natural opportunity for Michaels to retire and receive his flowers as possibly the most influential force in the history of American comedy.
Can "SNL" continue without Michaels? Should it?
Without him at the helm, would NBC possibly consider moving it to Peacock, or canceling it altogether?
Though my "SNL" viewing habits have declined sharply since the death of satire (aka Alec Baldwin's weekly appearances), the show's demise would be a sad day for TV lovers and the business of comedy -- has there been a better launching pad for legendary comedic talent?
After Michaels departs, "SNL" could benefit from a decidedly different person at the helm -- and not another old white dude. Could that person be Kenan Thompson?
• Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor who still names "Massive Head Wound Harry" as his favorite "SNL" sketch.