On the heels of Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah leaving Saturday Night Live before season 42 begins in September, another member of the show’s ensemble has departed: featured player Jon Rudnitsky will not return for the new season, EW has confirmed.
Rudnitsky was added to the cast before last season, and appeared briefly throughout the season. His exit was first reported by TVLine.
On Monday night, NBC confirmed that both Killam and Pharoah were not coming back for season 42. In an interview with Uproxx, Killam expressed surprise that he would not return.
“I don’t know the other side of it. You sign for seven years, so I had one more year,” Killam said, noting he felt season 42 would be his last as other projects began taking up some of his schedule. “I was never given a reason why, really,” Killam added about SNL not picking up his contract. “I can assume until the cows come home. But I do know I’m directing this movie [Why We’re Killing Gunther with Arnold Schwarzenegger] and I’ll have two months of post-production that would have bled into the SNL production schedule, so we kind of communicated that.”
Rudnitsky was a background player throughout most of the season, but he became the source of controversy after debuting an impression of Anderson Cooper during an October episode.
“I didn’t think it was very good,” Cooper said to Andy Cohen after the episode aired. ”Seth Meyers did a spoof of me years ago that was really funny and I’m all for being spoofed. It was like the only thing [Rudnitsky] knew about me was that I was gay so that’s sort of what he went with. I got a little Truman Capote vibe, which I thought was odd.”
During that interview, Cohen said he felt Rudnitsky’s impression of Cooper was “queened-up.”