Today, Splitsider reported that SNL had hired six new writers and, in the process, five writers from last season will no longer be with the show for various reasons. Joining the show are Fran Gillespie, Will Stephen, Sudi Green, Dave Sirus, Paul Masella, and Chris Belair. Leaving are Alison Rich, Claire Mulaney, Natasha Rothwell, Nick Rutherford, and Mike O’Brien.
Mike O’Brien is a former cast member (and it’s no secret a favorite of this reporter), and though he’s not returning as a staff writer, that doesn’t mean for sure we won’t see him on SNL this season.
Two seasons ago, O’Brien was added to the cast as a featured player. He never made much of an impact as a performer in live sketches, but flourished in the post-Andy Samberg world of pre-filmed comedy shorts. Highlights include “Monster Pals” and “Dragon Babies.”
For the show’s 40th season, O’Brien was no longer a cast member, but he returned as a writer and as an occasional contributor with his short films – which were credited as “A Mike O’Brien Picture.” (Among them “Prom Queen” and “Grow-a-Guy.”)
Uproxx has learned that the possibility still exists that O’Brien may still return to the show in some capacity with his films, but at this time, nothing is official. O’Brien has a large Internet fanbase (ahem) that has been lamenting the news of his departure over the last few hours. But, for O’Brien fans, there still appears to be at least some hope.
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.