Bill Hader just made his final appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” and he might not be the only one to leave the show in the coming months. Fred Armisen, Seth Myers and Jason Sudeikis may all leave “SNL” soon as well, triggering a cast crisis in America’s longest-running comedy show.
According to a commentary in the New York Post, not only was Saturday’s “SNL” the final goodbye for Hader, but most likely the last-ever show for Armisen as well. And if a deleted tweet by cast member Jay Pharoah is to be believed, Sudeikis will not be returning next season either. At the same time, Meyers is confirmed to replace Jimmy Fallon as the host of “Late Night” in February 2014.
All four men have been huge assets for years, familiar faces who get viewers to tune into “SNL” week after week. Given that fellow tentpole member Kristen Wiig also left “SNL” last year, this cast crisis could mean that viewers would be largely unfamiliar with the new “SNL” cast and might not bother to tune in at all, putting the show’s future in danger.
In the event that Hader, Armisen, Myers and Sudeikis do all leave at once, this still might not spell the end for “SNL.” Creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels has suffered similar mass departures in the past and has always managed to rebound.
For instance, between 1994 and 1995, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Michael McKean, Sarah Silverman and Phil Hartman (among others) all left the show. The very next season, “SNL” brought aboard Will Ferrell, Colin Quinn, Darrell Hammond and Chris Kattan, launching into a high-quality season. So all isn’t lost yet, though the cast crisis could still be a problem for Michaels and “SNL” as viewers take a while to warm up to new faces.
At the very least, however, “SNL” will at least have a few months of the next season to slowly phase out Weekend Update host Seth Meyers. Myers will definitely be leaving “SNL” within the next year, but it seems likely that he’ll stay on the sketch comedy show for at least another half season. Meyers, 39, spoke with “The Today Show’s” Matt Lauer last week to say that he won't let Saturday's "SNL" be his last ever show.
“I know it’s crazy,” Meyers told Lauer. “I just am nowhere near emotionally ready for this Saturday to be my last show.”
Still, despite the possibility of a coming cast crisis, Hader made a wonderful departure from “SNL.” In his final "SNL" performance, he joined Armisen for a reprisal of Armisen’s Ian Rubbish character, an uncharacteristically happy 1970s punk singer with a fondness for Margaret Thatcher.
As Armisen and Hader (backed by Sudeikis on drums) launched into a farewell song, they were joined by a veritable legion of punk and indie rock all-stars, including Armisen’s “Portlandia” partner Carrie Brownstein, Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon and Dinosaur Jr. guitarist J Mascis.
It was a characteristically great exit for Hader (and possibly Armisen too), which you can watch below.