‘Saturday Night Live’s’ future: Taran Killam, Cecily Strong poised for big years

Saturday Night Live LogoIf you love comedy, then you probably had a few reasons to smile over the year on “Saturday Night Live.” The Stefon sketch Saturday night was a thing of beauty, and in between it and the return of Fred Armisen’s Ian Rubbish to say goodbye, it marked the end of the era.

Let’s go ahead and assume that Armisen and even Jason Sudeikis each leave the show along with Hader, which has been reported. What happens now? This is going to be another big rebuilding year for the show, since they will have to go out and cast a number of guys to try and fill this void. Taran Killam suddenly finds himself in the place of anchor, which is great in that he didn’t have nearly enough to do all season long. Meanwhile, we may have even more Bobby Moynihan, and the ladies (in particular Nasim Pedrad, Vanessa Bayer, Kate McKinnon, and Cecily Strong) are relied on more than ever.

The cast list itself is interesting: Kenan Thompson will probably stick around, even though he’s not the most popular guy on the show, because he does bring a lot of history. We also feel the same about Jay Pharoah, with the difference being that he is just under-utilized. We anticipate seeing both McKinnon and Strong (which is an appropriate last name given her recent run on the show) being bumped up to regulars, and it leaves us with an interesting situation.

So what becomes of Tim Robinson and Aidy Bryant? These two newbies to the show this year really were not given that much to do as performers, as they never had big “Weekend Update” characters or memorable sketches. (The best one for Aidy was the massage bit with Kristen Wiig last week). We could say that they are on the bubble for next week, but we like to be solutions-oriented around these parts. Therefore, we turn to this as our suggestion: Consider them as Seth Meyers’ replacements on “Weekend Update” if their writing skills are up to par. You don’t want to lose someone like Moynihan, Pedrad, or Strong from the rotation, and you can’t lose Killam or McKinnon from the sketches. (It’s possible to do both, but Tina Fey and Meyers stuck mostly to their anchoring duties.) This gives them several months to prepare with Seth, and you don’t have to bring in an unknown to stick in that position.

As an “SNL” junkie there is going to be an extremely long few months ahead, as we sift through repeat after repeat before the premiere happens. Who would we like to see host next year? This is a story that we’re saving for the first week of June, when we are really in the doldrums and there’s not much happening in the entertainment world.

For now, give us your take on the season below, along with what you want to see happen on the show in the fall. If you want to read our full review of the finale hosted by Ben Affleck, you can do so over here.

Photo: NBC

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