Jon Rudnitsky Leaving SNL

SNL Exodus Update: Jon Rudnitsky Also Departing Ahead of Season 42

The Saturday Night Live bloodletting continues. In the wake of TVLine’s scoop that Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah would not be returning for Season 42, an NBC spokesperson also confirms that featured player Jon Rudnitsky has been let go.

Rudnitsky — who joined the late-night institution last fall — lingered largely in the background of Season 41 until the Larry David-hosted Feb. 6 installment, in which he interrupted Weekend Update with a Dirty Dancing parody. Rudnitsky also served up an Anderson Cooper impression, during a debate sketch, that earned criticism from Andy Cohen as being “queened-up.”

NBC isn’t commenting on the reason for the mass exodus, but in an interview late Monday Killam intimated that he was fired, telling Uproxx that SNL boss Lorne Michaels inexplicably decided not to pick up the final year of his seven-season contract. “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,” he said. “I was never given a reason why, really.”

Early Tuesday, Killam cheekily addressed his ouster on Twitter, writing, “A big thank you for all the Love from my fans. Lorne was kind enough to understand I needed more time to dedicate to my undefeated @RamsNFL.”

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  1. EJ says:

    Good God, the one cast member who should have been fired long ago is Kyle Mooney. Why the f**k is he still there?

  2. Steven says:

    He was never really given chance other than the Dirty Dancing bit.

  3. Kevin K says:

    OH NO. First Taran, Jay and now Jon Rudnitsky? He was destined to be a breakout star on SNL but I’m disappointed they let him go. Really hope they’re going to be more than one featured player to be cast for Season 42.

  4. Steve Ungrey says:

    Something tells me the good ol’ NBC bean counters are at work here.

    • greg says:

      I doubt this has anything to do with salary. Most of the cast are unknowns and would not be demanding much of a pay cheque. Only a few of the women who are breaking out into movies may be upping their ask, but still no one is getting paid what Amy or Maya or Kristen made.

    • HAP says:

      I tend to agree that NBC probably told Lorne to trim the budget. Ratings are not what they were in the heyday.

      • Commenter163 says:

        No ratings are what they were in their heyday. Saturday Night Live is one of NBC’s top shows, and it airs at 11:30 on a Saturday.

  5. Raftrap says:

    Can we just end Colin and Michael on update, instead of taking one of the strongest performers of the bunch in Taran?

  6. The Kaibosh says:

    This all makes perfect sense. Laura Benanti nailed it with her Melania Trump impression. So if NBC is going to bring her into SNL with three months to go before the election its going to be expensive. Lose three for one. This makes sense.

    • KatsMom says:

      Well that’s optimistic of you. Laura’s obviously awesome, but Lorne Michaels is calling the shots. He’s the guy who had Fred Armisen doing the world’s worst Obama impression for what seemed like an eternity while Jay Pharoah’s superior impression was kept on the bench.

  7. Dina says:

    Wait…I thought I read last night that he & Jay left on their own. Now I’m reading that they were FIRED?? That’s insanity! What is going on over there? Yikes.

    • A says:

      The initial report by TVLine was left vague as to what happened until Taran’s interview came out moments later.

  8. Brandy says:

    Man. This guy had promise too. I guess this means we are stuck with Kenan, Bobby, Beck, and Kyle for EVERY sketch. Nice going, Lorne.

  9. Guy says:

    Yet Michael Che remains, the worst thing to happen to Weekend Update since Colin Quinn. What is Lorne Michaels smoking to get rid of two of the most talented castmembers and an up-and-comer you know could have been great given the chance.

    • BillyBobJohnson says:

      No, the worst thing to happen since Colin JOST was put on Weekend Update. Jost and Che both need to leave. So does Mooney. In fact, they should get rid of all the men and just have women. They’re much funnier.

      • Tom says:

        Except for Aidy Bryant. Get rid of her too.

        • Kevin K says:

          Why getting rid of Aidy Bryant? She’s one of the most important and current female cast members on SNL I’ve ever seen. No way they would dumped her before the new season begins.

          • Tom says:

            She’s not funny though. The Girlfriends Chat Show and the high school drama kids sketches are horrible

  10. Max says:

    Cast members who’ve worn out their stay for sure: Kenan Thompson and Bobby Moynihan.
    Cecily Strong still has another year, maybe two.

  11. iHeart says:

    hey that reminds me does this mean that Pete and Leslie will be promoted? (but then again they’ve been featured players for two seasons, and that’s usually how long it would take for a featured player to be promoted to regular….unless there’s a mass exodus like in 2006 and 2013) and a regular usually leaves after 7 years

    • Viewer since 1976 says:

      If there’s anything close to a sure thing in all this, it’s Leslie moving up from featured player to full cast. She’s clearly very highly regarded not just at SNL but at NBC. Pete Davidson’s doper-boy persona is getting old but there’s no reason to think he won’t move up a notch, too, and they need someone in their early 20’s.

      The one who needs to go IMO is Lorne Michaels. The last creative innovation at SNL was the digital shorts. Otherwise the show plays out pretty much exactly the way it did 20 years ago (“Ladies and gentlemen, Katy Perry.” “Once again, Katy Perry.”) Way too many skits are formatted as tv shows (or live streams). How many times next season will the opening monologue be “interrupted” by a cast member coming onstage to talk to the host? (I say 5). How many fake Q&As with audience members in the floor seats? (1 at least). Fake commercials always in the same spot; same notes always being played by the live band when they return from the last commercial.

      • iHeart says:

        actually I don’t remember the last time there was a Q and A monologue

        yes but Lorne did leave for five years and well I wasn’t even born during those years, however I heard that the Ebersol era wasn’t well liked (with the except of having Eddie Murphy and a few good others in the cast, yeah it’s kind of common to forget that Robert Downey Jr started off on SNL)

  12. Tom says:

    can they please get rid of Aidy Bryant? And Mooney like everyone else is saying. Get rid of those two and I’ll accept Pharoah and Killiam’s ouster.

  13. Lauren says:

    That’s a bummer. Doesn’t feel like he was given a chance. I appreciated the little I saw of him.

  14. hbeachman says:

    No, not Jon Rudnitsky! Said no one ever.

    • maggie says:

      True! I forgot he was even on the show. His ouster isn’t as surprising as Taran or Jay.

    • teeveenerd says:

      Agreed. I was hoping out of all the cast firings he would be first. He’s horrible. His Wolf Blitzer impression still makes me cringe.

  15. Gmom100 says:

    I can’t believe SNL let Taran Killiam go!! He is the best male in the cast! And I really like Jay Pharoah (except for his mean-spirited take on Dr. Ben Carson). Never felt Jon R., though. Every few seasons turns out to be a dud. Maybe season 42 will be one, too.

  16. KT says:

    Who really needs to go is Lorne Michaels. It’s so past time for new leadership.

  17. matty says:

    Now could they please fire Kenan Thompson already?

  18. tara17 says:

    This situation is making me nervous about the female cast members… I’d hate to see any of them go.

  19. Jill says:

    He was never given a chance. I do remember thinking he was good in the few things he was in. I will be ok with the exodus of cast members when Kyle Mooney is announced as FIRED. Not just let go or contract not renewed, but fired. He & Beck Bennett are writing partners, I believe, so it may not happen.

  20. Captain Paintball says:

    By my estimation, they need to get rid of about 10 more. Keep the ax falling, Lorne. Oh…


  21. teeveenerd says:

    I can understand why they are letting this fool go, but still don’t understand why they let Killam and Pharoah go. If it was money – why do they still have Kenan? I like Kenan alot but haven’t liked much of the skits he’s been in lately. I also thought he was a big part of Maya Rudolph’s new variety show. Both Killam and Pharoah are solid in everything they do.

    But then again, I don’t know why they let alot of people go that they do. This is the same show that fired Casey Wilson, Michaela Watkins, and Chris Parnell too soon (even if they did bring Parnell back – he was originally fired).