Fred Armisen confirms ‘Saturday Night Live’ exit: ‘It felt very natural’

Just in case there was any doubt, Fred Armisen has officially left “Saturday Night Live.”

“I think it’s clear [that I departed the show],” said Armisen in a recent interview with Splitsider. “I didn’t do any kind of official announcement, but I really felt like it was obvious. An ending that was a love letter to all the music I grew up with, and also to my friends and to ‘SNL’ and to Lorne and to the cast. There was a lot of emotion attached to it, but it was a very positive emotion.”

Armisen, who was a cast member on the late-night sketch series from 2002 to 2013, said his growing duties on “Portlandia” were a major reason for his exit, but that it also felt like the right time to depart.

“It was really just strange, in that it felt very natural,” he said. “It felt like a very healthy good time to do it. I was really enjoying and it just felt-it”s almost hard to define. Bill [Hader] was leaving, and Kristen and Andy had left. It just felt like I was very happy, maybe this is like a good time to do it. And then the other thing that really was eclipsing it was ‘Portlandia.’ ‘Portlandia’ started to pull me away more and more, schedule-wise, and I just felt like it’d be nice to focus on it a little more and go into the fall a bit more with shooting. So it was because of that. And also it was just a feeling.”

Reflecting on his decade-plus on the show, Armisen described it as a largely positive experience, telling the site, “I came away from ‘Saturday Night Live’ feeling very well represented. I felt, and I still feel like, they let me do sooo much stuff that I wanted to do. …They just let me do so much, so I felt very fulfilled.”

So what will he miss the most?

“The [memories] that really stand out in my mind immediately are just writing with people, and being in an office laughing really, really hard,” said Armisen. “Like this year I wrote a couple things with Vanessa [Bayer] and I don’t even know if any of them went to air but God, we just laughed. And all the stuff with Bill [Hader] or Seth [Meyers]. Great times with James Anderson. I wrote soo much stuff with James Anderson, more than anybody, through the 11 years I was there. We wrote just sketch after sketch. We wrote ‘The Californians’ together. It”s this really intensely close relationship. You write until 6 and 7 in the morning, all night, and you just look like a mess, and your hair is a greasy but you’re there and the sun’s coming up and you’re in front of this computer writing and laughing really hard. And that is something that I really will always miss.”

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