Bill Hader is leaving Saturday Night Live after eight seasons as one of its most versatile and hilarious players. The 34-year-old actor arrived at 30 Rock in 2005 and quickly carved out a role for himself with some of the show’s most popular characters, including “Weekend Update” special guests Stefon and James Carville, and an array of oddball game-show hosts. “It was a hard decision, but it has to happen at some point,” Hader told the New York Times. “It got to a point where I said, ‘Maybe it’s just time to go.'”
Last year, Hader was rewarded with an Emmy nomination for his all-around excellence on the show. He’s expected to focus more on movies; he’s appeared in films like Superbad, Adventureland, and Tropic Thunder, and in just the last season of SNL, he squeezed in three live-action movies and four animated films. One of them is The To Do List, starring Aubrey Plaza, which his wife, Maggie Carey wrote and directed.
Hader’s departure wasn’t unexpected, but accompanied by the loss of Seth Meyers, it shifts the attention to Fred Armisen and Jason Sudeikis, two other long-time stars of the show who are also considering leaving the show. “I think they’re making their decisions and we’ll know soon enough,” said SNL‘s executive producer Lorne Michaels. “I’ve said what I wanted to say to both. You never keep anybody there who doesn’t want to be there, and there is a right time to leave, but it’s more about where they are in their lives.”
Hader’s last show will be this weekend, the season finale with special guest Ben Affleck.