SNL Axes Two More Rookies

Heads are rolling like a Game of Thrones finale at Saturday Night Live this week.

Hot on the heels of firing rookie Brooks Wheelan yesterday, NBC’s sketch-comedy series has dropped fellow featured players Nöel Wells and John Milhiser heading into its 40th season, according to Deadline.

Wells and Milhiser were among eight newcomers — alongside Wheelan, Beck Bennett, Mike O’Brien, Kyle Mooney, Sasheer Zamata and Colin Jost — who debuted during SNL‘s critically maligned Season 39.

Milhiser was mostly relegated to the background during his SNL tenure.

Wells got a strong start in the Season 39 premiere playing Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath in a spoof of HBO’s Girls, but failed to gain much traction thereafter alongside a strong roster of female reperatory players including Emmy nominated Kate McKinnon, plus Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant and Cecily Strong.

Check out video below of Wells’ Girls moment, plus Wells and Milhiser flanking host Tina Fey during her opening monologue in the Season 39 premiere, then share your thoughts on their departures.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Et. Al says:


  2. I watched every episode of SNL since these rookies were brought in. I can’t remember a single sketch or anything that John Milhiser has done. And I only vaguely remember Noel Wells doing something in the background of an all-girls sketch.

    What I’m getting at it is: I couldn’t care less about their departures. But good luck to them, anyways!

    • SNL Fan says:

      The only thing Milhiser did other than a Jon Cryer impression and one of the students in those Shallon sketches, is a sketch with Lady Gaga where he danced with her at a children’s concert. That was pretty much it.

  3. R. says:

    I think cutting down the cast like they are and trying to get some better writers would make SNL watchable for me again. I’ll give it another shot this fall.

  4. Steven says:

    Noel Wells is actually very talented, so that’s upsetting. The only rookies who seemed to get a lot of screen time were Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney and neither were very funny in my opinion.

    • cjeffery7 says:

      so that’ll make 5 girls and 7 guys (plus any potential newbies). certainly equitable, but i would have thought Noel to be a sure thing. I really enjoy Mike O’Brien’s sense of humor but i dont know if SNL is for him. And i’m in agreement that Kyle Moooney and Beck Bennet’s digital sketches were pretty atrocious. definitely a little surprised by this move.

      • Maria says:

        I agree SNL isn’t right for Mike O’Brien

        • Brian says:

          Mike O’Brien has been a writer on SNL since 2009.

          • cjeffery7 says:

            not right for him as a live performer. he’s much better suited to taped stuff like his web series 7 Minutes in Heaven or, this may be controversial, the digital short he did this past season where he tried to interview a pigeon or whatever. in live sketches he’s much more iffy in my opinion.

          • cjeffery7 says:

            not right for him as a live performer. he’s much better suited to taped stuff like his web series 7 Minutes in Heaven or, this may be controversial, the digital short he did this past season where he tried to interview a pigeon or whatever. in live sketches he’s much more iffy in my opinion.

    • Tran says:

      Beck & Kyle should stay on SNL ’cause they’re BFF in real life when they were in college. Kyle was great in one of those Sprint “framily” commercials.

    • Christy says:

      Sounds like given the amount of screen time they got, they’re better off using their talents somewhere that will appreciate them more. I hope they all find something soon.

  5. Dude says:

    Get rid of all of the newbies and start from scratch.

  6. SJ says:

    Really only Beck Bennett made a lasting impresson last season. I say keep him – and the black girl, before the PC police starts howling again – and bring on at most two new featured players and really give everyone a chance to shine. Cecily can anchor the Update alone.

  7. Brandy says:

    Wow, Noel showed a lot of promise (way more than Sasheer, if you ask me). And I really enjoyed John when he was actually given a chance to shine.

    • Adam Lipkin says:

      Really? Her Alyson Hannigan (one of the few roles she had this year) was quite possibly the single worst impression in SNL history. Sasheer consistently had funny moments, and also nailed a bunch of impressions.

  8. guy says:

    Kyle Mooney is the only one I expect to survive this blood bath. He’s the only who had any kind of artistic expression and unique voice on the show. Everyone else is so bland and forgettable.

  9. JASon says:

    How the hell Does Aidy Bryant keep her job. Two seasons now and not one funny sketch I can remember. Her whole act is to read the line and stick out her tongue. Probably the worst ever on the show. Noel Wells was much funnier.

  10. Andie says:

    I hope this means Kyle Mooney is safe!!!! His ASB class president video and the “two poos in a pod” short were the highlights of last season!

    • Drewer says:

      ASB was the funniest thing this season in my opinion.

    • Dave Armadillo says:

      Kyle Mooney is awesome, along w/ his friend Beck Bennett, Check out their YouTube videos, type in GoodNeighborStuff, that was their comedy group name, these guys wrote some hilarious sketches before they joined SNL. Just a suggestion.

  11. EJ says:

    Milhiser had a good moment when he and Lady Gaga played parents in that talent contest sketch. But that’s it. I liked Kyle Mooney as the little boy in the camp sketch on the finale but other than that I find him irritating.

  12. Yeah, SNL, blame and fire the rookies, cause that’s where your problem lies. Stephen Spielberg should’ve shot the old dinosaur that is SNL, not that poor Triceratops.

  13. Tran says:

    Really going to missed Noel Wells on SNL but John Milhiser was a big disappointment and the weakest link to the Season 39 cast. Mike O’Brien should be removed from the cast and heads back to the writing staff. As for Colin Jost, where does he go from here and should Cecily Strong do Update by herself or perhaps book someone else to “replaces” Jost as Update co-anchor?

  14. Ben says:

    It doesn’t matter who they hire or fire; SNL won’t get better until they get rid of a certain few writers.

  15. curtlyon19 says:

    wow, wasnt aware this show was still on the air! #tired

  16. Joey Padron says:

    I knew they would leave show since they weren’t featured that much this past season. Bad idea of SNL hiring too new castmembers that weren’t going be on show that much.

  17. mikey says:

    Not surprising considering the cast was wayyyy too large. Get it down to 10-12 performers at most. Colin Jost should be next. And get rid of Kenan “I only do one character for everything” Thompson.

  18. DL says:

    Surprised Wells got cut! Thought she was pretty good.

  19. mia says:

    Honestly i can’t believe that keenan is still on….they need to just cut the cast in half.less is better…and better writers

  20. AnnieM says:

    Am I the only person who *likes* Kenan? Please don’t hate me.

    • Christy says:

      Oooh weee…Wassup with that? Wassup with that? I still have a soft spot for Kenan, as one note as he is.

    • Drewer says:

      I like Kenan, his impressions aren’t that bad, and even if he only does a few different characters for a lot of different parts, at least they are all funny, that’s more than I can say for a lot of people.

    • sharon tzfania says:

      i love Kenan too. his 1 of the best in the show.

  21. soso says:

    Noooo! Not the attractive ones… :*( Why is SNL so against having good-looking rookies? I mean the other three guys aren’t uggos or anything, but the three fired ones were SO MUCH HOTTER. Well, Brooks and Noel were super hot, Milhiser was more cute. But still…

    le sigh

    Very triste with these developments. I also really didn’t like those super weird video shorts that Mooney and Bennett did at the tail-end of some episodes. Didn’t find them funny at all.

    Well, at least Colin Jost is cute and Sasheer Zamata is very easy on the eyes.

  22. sharon tzfania says:

    Brooks wheealn is so cute, and i loved him on snl. they must chang their mind about firing him .

  23. Dino says:

    Honestly, with Nasim leaving, I really hoped that Noel stayed. Apart from Kate, there are no funny ladies.

  24. Dick Hertz says:

    Noel Wells was a highlight of the show for me. They’re keeping Aidy Bryant but letting Noel Wells go? Another great move by the brain trust at SNL.

  25. Sterling Archer says:

    Are any of them black? I doubt it. If they were then there would be protests. That;s why they hired that black chick.

  26. nieves1226 says:

    Is anyone else bothered by who is doing weekend up date? Cecily Strong , is OK but, who was the other guy. he is not right for weekend update. Nasim Pedrad, and Kenan Thompson
    are really funny they should of gotten it. Kate McKinnon is excellent also.

  27. Tbear62 says:

    We have a show that is produced by Loren Michaela who also is now producing The Tonight Show and every other freaking SNL alumni that goes out and does something other than SNL. I think he is stretching even his own ” Talent” too thin and the work suffers. You cant have your hand in that many pies and pull out plumbs every time- a turkey is bound to poke through. The SNL talent lacks. They rush to choose and develop and the final project is worse than a 3rd Graders stage production. You have a 40 year program and apparently NBC nor any other channel wants to revamp or come up with something new because Net work tv is down the toilet and they dont want to spend the money. I see Fallon and Meyers are doing well with their shows- why wouldnt they- thats where the SNL writers seem to have gone because its like watching 2 more 1 hour shows from SNL> Apparently Michaels and Fallon think everyone watching is 12 years old.

  28. JJ says:

    They fire the actor/comedians like they have anything to do with the boring horrible writing going on.

  29. Dwayne says:

    I think its time to pull the cork and say good by to SNL

  30. Jake says:

    I think not knowing who is to point out the fact that SL has made an absolute drop in either actors or sketches. Back in the hayday of SNl, we would know almost every name. I mean, now it’s like who?

    It’s not a matter of not caring, its just a point to make that we hardly know the actors.

  31. Brian says:

    Too Bad they didn’t give Noel enough time

  32. RobEB says:

    This article goes back to July! Why the re-post?

  33. Josh McCaffree says:

    We need Landon Ashworth on SNL… He is the next lonely island/andy samberg

  34. Jon R. says:

    I hope they “re-organize” the writers for the next year as well. The writing is what suffered most. That huge new cast barely got a chance to do anything. The writers didn’t give them much and relied too heavily on their bigger stars. They played WAY too safe and didn’t try anything new with them.