Andy Samberg Confirms SNL Exit, Calls It 'One of the Hardest Decisions I've Ever Made'

We may never be privy to Nicolas Cage’s psyche again.

Calling it “one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made,” Andy Samberg on Friday officially announced his decision to leave NBC’s Saturday Night Live after six seasons.

Acknowledging that the news was “not a huge shock” in the wake of two months’ worth of rumors, Samberg nonetheless told the New York Times, “It’s an incredibly emotional and strange moment in my life.”

During his SNL tenure, which began in the fall of 2005, Samberg shepherded the late-night series’ Digital Shorts segments, amassing a total of seven Emmy nominations along the way for Original Music and Lyrics. He, his partners in the Lonely Island hip-hop group and guest performer Justin Timberlake converted on the first of those nods, in 2007, for the extremely viral “D–k in a Box.”

Samberg’s formal farewell comes just weeks after the SNL season finale that marked castmate Kristin Wiig’s own exit from the series.

In an April TVLine poll asking which rumored-to-be-leaving SNLer you’d miss most, Samberg placed second behind Wiig, ahead of Jason Sudeikis (whose own fate with the show remains TBD).

Comments (67)

  • Jason Sudeikis

    Comment by ironbunny – June 1, 2012 04:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • And how!

      Comment by Matt Webb Mitovich – June 1, 2012 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Really going to miss Andy and his “digital shorts”. Bring back T.V. Funhouse.

    Comment by Tran – June 1, 2012 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Does Andy’s departure mean he’s taking Jorma and Keev with him? If not, we’ll still have the shorts. They’ll just be Andy-free.

      Comment by neums (@neums) – June 1, 2012 05:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I think both Dudes already left the show way before.

        Comment by ILDC – June 1, 2012 05:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I hope Andy guests on Parks & Rec again. His park ranger character was one of my favorites. Say hi to your mother for me.

      Comment by Ari – June 2, 2012 03:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well, there went any reason to continue watching that train wreck.

    Comment by CR – June 1, 2012 05:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • i thought last season was pretty good. i watched some episodes 2010-2011 and they were god awful. i think they at least stepped it up a little bit.

      Comment by Caedus – June 1, 2012 08:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sad, he was my favorite cast member. Wish they would have given him more of a send off like they gave Kristen Wiig!

    Comment by Alex – June 1, 2012 05:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yea they should have but it would have been hard since he didn’t decide to leave til after the season finale

      Comment by Becca – June 1, 2012 06:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They pretty much did! The “100 digital short” and “Lazy Sunday 2″

      Comment by martin – June 2, 2012 01:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Goodbye Digital Shorts, hello inability to be successful in lead movie roles. “That’s My Boy”? More like “That’s My Current Lowpoint”.

    Comment by Gawd – June 1, 2012 05:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Caw

    Comment by Gawd – June 1, 2012 05:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • While I was watching the finale, I decided that if Jason Sudeikis left the show without one more “Kickspit Underground Rock Festival” as DJ Supersoak, I’d be disappointed. I’ll miss the Digital Shorts if they’ve been retired, but I did love Kristin Wiig’s wonderful send-off.

    Comment by Winnie – June 1, 2012 05:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Why do people they they would get rid of the digital shorts? They’ve been doing them since the show first started. First they had Albert Brooks doing them back in the day, I’m not sure about the 80′s, but then Robert Smigel did them prior to Sandberg and crew picking them up. They’ve always had some form of digital short, they just went by a different name depending on who was helming them.

      Comment by Jason C – June 1, 2012 05:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I think the first (or second) time it was officially called a digital short was when Adam McKay made the Baby and the German Intellectual. I’m not exactly sure what qualifies for the title since they have tons of pre-taped bits, so I assume it’s a short film written and produced independently from the regular writing staff. But I know what you’re talking about. I remember a short from a best-of episode where John Belushi played himself as an old man talking about his former castmates he managed to outlive.

        Comment by TigerNightmare – June 1, 2012 06:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I’m pretty sure the Smigel and Brooks bits count as digital shorts because they were kind of done independently. I think they were more independent of SNL than the Samberg sketches (although I guess is ability to sell the songs in an entity separate from SNL shows their independence)…

          Comment by Jason C – June 1, 2012 06:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • You’re right. SNL has been doing shorts forever. One of my favorites is the Synchronized Swimmers short featuring Martin Short and Harry Shearer. I think most people mean they will miss the musical parody shorts the Lonely Island Boys specialized in. As for the cast, I think as long as Bill Hader and Taren Killen stay around (and they get better writers), they’ll be fine.

        Comment by big cheddar – June 1, 2012 09:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Jason C, I’m quite familiar with the shorts as they’ve been done over the years. Not only have I been watching SNL for decades, but they also did a special a few years back where they showed a random selection of popular shorts over the decades the show has aired. It was nice to see Gilda Radner back on my screen, if only for a few minutes. You’re right, I should’ve said something like “digital shorts as created by The Lonely Island in recent years,” because they were specifically called that and that was what got me watching [regularly] again after several years that I didn’t enjoy. Even the years I didn’t watch, I was familiar with Robert Smigel’s TV Funhouse shorts through word-of-mouth or the occasional check in.

        Comment by Winnie – June 2, 2012 12:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yes! DJ SuperSoak, Lil’ Blaster and Ass Dan need another appearance stat! Easily one of my current favorite bits along with Bongo’s Clown Room.

      Comment by Deeezy – June 2, 2012 03:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Can he take most of the writers with him? No problems with Wiig, but, good lord, they needed to find some new sketches for her and not run the established ones (Gilly/Target Lady etc) into the ground. That goes for Fred Armison as well.

    Comment by Andrew – June 1, 2012 05:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Andy Samburg was cast in a new British comedy series for BBC Three, called Cuckoo quite a while ago now. Not sure if they’ve started filming or when it will air.

    Comment by Daniel – June 1, 2012 05:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Google is your friend:

      “This is a new show in development. Details are not complete and may change.”

      “Andy Samberg stars in Cuckoo, playing an idle young hippie who a British girl introduces to her parents as her new husband as she arrives home from a gap year in the US. There is tension between Samberg’s character and an overprotective father played by Greg Davies.”

      Comment by cuius – June 2, 2012 03:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • no more laser cats :(

    Comment by Michael Sacal – June 1, 2012 05:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Of course, the cast members I actually like are staying while Fred, Bobby and Kenan continue to overstay their welcome.

    Comment by TigerNightmare – June 1, 2012 06:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Er, I meant leaving. Stupid brain.

      Comment by TigerNightmare – June 1, 2012 06:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Who rags on Bobby Moynihan???

      Comment by herringbonesports – June 1, 2012 10:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • People who don’t think he’s funny? Don’t you remember the first sketch he was the lead character? He played this obnoxious waiter who just said, “Do you smell pepper?! It smells like pepper!” a few hundred times. And of course, this horrible character was never seen again.

        Comment by TigerNightmare – June 2, 2012 09:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • First off they did do that character a second time. Second if you understood many of the pop culture references it was hilarious. Third bobby usually writes the one or two actual funny sketches. Seth needs to leave as head writer he has made the show fairly stale. The silver lining is that with snl it is always a roller coaster ride some new star will come and make us fall in love all over again.

          Comment by Jeremy – June 2, 2012 12:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Mark Payne is hilarious. I keep hoping for a 3rd appearance.

            Comment by John Berggren – June 2, 2012 01:15 PM PDT  
          • Begrudgingly, I looked it up to watch again to see if I missed something. He makes a reference to the Golden Girls theme song and the film Twister. Neither were funny. I spent the entire time gritting my teeth and sighing out my nose. I patiently waited for a joke of some kind. A punchline. ANYTHING. I fantasized about being a zombie and tearing his face off with my teeth.

            What I gathered from this second and final viewing is that it was derivative of Kristin Wiig’s Target lady–poor service from a quirky person–and that he relied completely on producing an overacted character voice and flamboyant body language without bothering with any jokes other than two stale pop culture references. You don’t get to to call including the phrase “thank you for being a friend” a joke. His anime shirt was the most amusing thing about the sketch. I hate him. I hate him so much.

            Agreed on Seth, though. While he writes actual jokes, most of them fall flat for me. But at least he tries.

            Comment by TigerNightmare – June 2, 2012 06:31 PM PDT  
          • I don’t mind him so much, he actually does make me laugh on occasion. His drunk uncle bit from Weekend Update is hilarious, and I thought his dancing in the “So You Think You Can Dance At A Music Festival” sketch was some of the funniest in the bit. The one member of the cast who has almost never made me laugh (I think he’s only made me laugh once) is Keenan Thompson. He needs to go…

            Comment by Jason C – June 4, 2012 10:01 AM PDT  
  • I wonder if his other lonely island buddys will also be leaving the show as writers

    Comment by mike – June 1, 2012 06:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • albert brooks’ films were digital? is he a time traveler?

    Comment by Jayjay – June 1, 2012 07:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well its official. There is no point to watch SNL from here on out. Kristen Wiig, now Andy. Tis a sad day. Sad day indeed.

    Comment by Christy – June 1, 2012 07:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think it’s hilarious that people are declaring SNL over because of these departures. Look back 36 years – how many times have people assumed it was “over” because of one departure or another? The show has done very well to recruit and recycle talent. It’s clear that Taran will be a force to keep the show strong. Hopefully Bobby Moynihan will also have a greater chance to shine.

    Comment by John Berggren – June 1, 2012 07:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Taran’s actually leaving as well, at least last I heard… I’d like to see Moynihan play more drunks, that’s what he does best, and I think they need to finally fire Keenan…

      Comment by Jason C – June 1, 2012 07:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Taran too? But he’s the best and most versatile of the featured players.

        Comment by TigerNightmare – June 1, 2012 08:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Oops, it looks like I was thinking of Paul Brittain. He wasn’t horrible though, and I kind of wish he was sticking around. At least it was Taran Killam though…

          Comment by Jason C – June 1, 2012 09:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Cycle not recycle. Do you smell pepper in here?

    Comment by John Berggren – June 1, 2012 07:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Andy Samberg has confirmed that he will not be returning to SNL. Do you think the show will hang on without Kristen Wiig and Andy? Vote at

    Comment by Nwvotes – June 1, 2012 07:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This cast is not the best cast the show is ever had, but it’s not the worst. Remember when Rocket, Piscopo, and Gottfried were primary members of the cast? Yeah, I don’t think you have much to worry about with this cast…

    Comment by Jason C – June 1, 2012 07:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Or when Robert Downey and Anthony Michael Hall were on. They actually apologized in the next season opener

      Comment by Jeremy – June 2, 2012 12:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I actually haven’t seen that yet, I’m rewatching the entire series so I’m interested to get to that point…

        Comment by Jason C – June 4, 2012 10:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • thank god he was horrible in every way

    Comment by kim – June 1, 2012 11:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • FINALLY! Someone expesses my thought! Thank you, Kim!

      Comment by TV Gord – June 2, 2012 02:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Nnnooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    Comment by emma – June 1, 2012 11:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sorry to hear (even if it was already announced). However I’m glad he managed to make lazy sunday 2 as a “goodbye”; the digital shorts were one of the best things of these last seasons.

    Comment by Polly – June 1, 2012 11:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I will really miss Wiig & Samberg. Both really funny & did awesome characters.

    As long as SNL doesn’t get rid of Bill Hader (& Stefon) …then it’s allll good.

    Comment by neopotter – June 2, 2012 12:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Adam who?

    Comment by TinyTim – June 2, 2012 12:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Samberg was weak from the first time he joined the cast and Wiig has been overplayed.
    Sadly, Armisen has also been overplayed and somehow under-utilized, I mean, he does fantastic work on Portlandia.
    Keenan needs to do What Up With That? more, sometimes it’s the only funny thing in an entire episode.. well, if it wasn’t for the horrible fake music acts that are wedged into the skit for no reason..
    Moynihan is easily the worst cast member right now, and the worst cast member since I started watching during the Ferrell, Gasteyer days.
    I just want someone to punch him in the face.
    Hader, Killam.. it’s all up to you now.

    Comment by Juan – June 2, 2012 01:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Jason Sudeakis is Gold!

      Comment by T – June 2, 2012 03:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • we still got bill hader, fred armisen and taran killam

    Comment by bebe – June 2, 2012 03:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • NOOOOO first Kristen Wiig now Andy Samberg!? I really don’t want Jason Sudeikis to leave as well..I couldn’t handle it PLEASE! :’(

    Comment by Line – June 2, 2012 03:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Just kill me now )=

    Comment by S. from A. – June 2, 2012 05:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • it’s not over til the fat lady sings…or bobby does….keenan’s incessant mugging is unbearable and nader’s stefan is way overdone…..change is needed if SNL can continue to entertain…let’s hope…

    Comment by jjam – June 2, 2012 07:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You mean Hader… And Stefan is the funniest recurring character on SNL, so, no, it’s not overused. I agree about Keenan though. SNL will continue to entertain, this is far from the worst cast the show has ever had, and it’s continued beyond the worst seasons of the show.

      Comment by Jason C – June 4, 2012 10:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Andy Samberg looks much like Matt Bennett aka Robbie from Victorious.

    Comment by Tran – June 2, 2012 11:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Lol. He thinks he’s going to be the next Adam Sandler. I bet he’ll bomb in movies and wished he never left the show.

    Comment by jayce – June 2, 2012 11:47 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Melanie Hudsel was a bigger loss.

    Comment by Jack Burton – June 2, 2012 03:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Andy was wonderfully funny all the time on SNL. He should put his D* in the box, smile and be happy with his decision to move on……

    Comment by Lynell – June 2, 2012 07:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Man…I’m gonna miss Hugh Jackman.

    Comment by dan – June 3, 2012 01:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I know I’m in the minority but I am thrilled my 2 least favorite cast members are leaving. I would hit the FF every time a recurring Wiig skit came up & I felt they didn’t let her do enough skits away from those characters (like when she did the tanning mom I was hysterical). And Andy is just not my style, except for his Nick Cage impression which kills me every time.

    Comment by Deena – June 3, 2012 08:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • There’s a lot of different reasons as to why Wiig had so many recurring characters, “they” (whoever “they” are) aren’t always at fault. Generally the writers write sketches for themselves throughout the week and then the sketches are picked based largely on which skits work best for whoever is hosting.

      Comment by Jason C – June 4, 2012 09:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
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