Photo Credit: Bennett Raglin/WireImage; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
When the beloved Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg announced they were leaving Saturday Night Live (Saturdays at 11:35 p.m. ET, on NBC), the show's creator had a predictable reaction: "There’s a tremendous feeling of loss like, 'What will you do?' and 'It will never be the same,'" Lorne Michaels told Entertainment Weekly. "Then, the sun comes up."
Michaels hired four new comedians, starting last spring with Kate McKinnon, who'd been doing sketch comedy for the New York City comedy troupe, Upright Citizens Brigade. Her kooky Ann Romney impression and other quirky characters had critics heralding her as the new Kristen Wiig.
But Michael rejects that assessment. "The one thing you can’t do is try to replace Kristen Wiig with Kristen Wiig," he said. "You know Chevy Chase was followed by Bill Murray. And that worked well because it’s hard enough to make your mark without being compared to the person that you are 'replacing.'"
Last month, the show kicked off its 38th season with three newbies that Michaels plucked from Chicago's Second City comedy troupe: Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong and Tim Robinson. "What’s interesting is how fast an audience takes to people," Michaels said. "It doesn’t take long." So far, the breakout star appears to be Strong, whose character, The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party, was a highlight of a recent Weekend Update segment. Watch here:
Michaels also made another big change this season: Fred Armisen used to be his go-to guy for the role of Barack Obama in political sketches. Now Jay Pharoah has taken on that responsibility. "It was time to put new energy into it," he said. "Fred was great about it. I talked to Fred about it first. One of the reasons I chose Fred originally was that you knew that he would find a way to make it funny and that it would be relatively benign. It worked for us for four years and now it’s a different kind of time."
Watch Pharaoh take on the role of POTUS:
It's also a different time for Wiig and Samberg, obviously. Wiig has a slate full of movies in varying stages of production. And Samberg just signed a deal to star in a new sitcom from the producers of Parks and Recreation. No doubt they enjoyed working with him when he guest starred on the show last year.
He'll play the lead detective at a precinct in New York City, but it's probably safe to say this show won't be anything like NYPD Blue!