Saturday Night Live finally revealed its Season 47 cast after months of uncertainty. Considering the show is quite literally together putting its first episode, scheduled for October 2, as you read this, the announcement of who’s in and who’s out was extremely last-minute. The departure of Beck Bennett is likely the biggest surprise, as he leaves, as does Lauren Holt. Meanwhile many of those widely expected to leave actually ended up staying. Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, Pete Davidson and Kate McKinnon are all back this fall, along with Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman getting bumped up from featured players to full cast.
Replacing them as featured players are a trio of newcomers: Aristotle Athari, James Austin Johnson and Sarah Sherman. While news of their addition didn’t draw nearly as much controversy as some past additions on the show, there was considerable buzz about the newcomers, largely because of their past work. In fact, if you are even a little bit online you probably know at least one of those names thanks to living life in the Trump era. If you’re just catching up, though, here’s a quick rundown of what the sketch comedians are best known for.
James Austin Johnson
While Sarah Cooper may have gotten the biggest buzz for her impressions of Donald Trump, earning a Netflix and CBS deal in the process, it was Auston Johnson who was widely acclaimed for having the most accurate take. Videos of the comedian rambling in Trump’s raspy, unfocused voice about anything from Scooby Doo to Super Mario Bros have routinely gone viral, even in the months after Trump left office amid a coup attempt.
Austin Johnson’s best work is largely considered to be this one, which he published on Independence Day.
Fireworks Illegal In Pasadena pic.twitter.com/ADOBuCPWUJ
— James Austin Johnson (@shrimpJAJ) June 4, 2021
Johnson has also appeared in the Coen Brothers classic Hail, Caesar! and recently did voice acting for Tuca + Bertie. along with a variety of other stand up and podcast appearances over the years. It’s extremely likely that he will take over for Alec Baldwin, doing Trump impressions on the show, which is good news for everyone. Baldwin included.
Predictably, he made a joke about the big announcement on Monday as well.
BIG NEWS DAY!!! so excited to be joining this madhouse 🤪 pic.twitter.com/29u9Sh9J7y
— James Austin Johnson (@shrimpJAJ) September 27, 2021
Described as a “weird comic from Chicago” by the Sun-Times, the boundary-pushing comedian is known as Sarah Squirm on Twitter for good reason. Her body humor shows have been described as a “circus of vulgarity” by critics because they usually involve, uh, fluids.
"Sarah Sherman was given the nickname “Squirm” because she was “really skinny and gross and squirmy.” The name stuck, but it’s since taken on a different meaning: the comic is now known for her absurdist, gross-out stand-up." | @BriannaWellen (2016) https://t.co/ImwvdMrxEy
— Chicago Reader (@Chicago_Reader) September 27, 2021
Sherman has worked as a writer on the Netflix series Magic For Humans. Her short Sarah Vaccine also made waves online recently. Lately, Sherman’s work has been featured on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and has worked on The Eric Andre Show as well.
Amazingly, she publicly shared an “audition tape” for Saturday Night Live back in 2020, which appears to have somehow worked.
She joked that the show made a “big mistake” on Monday shortly after the announcement was made.
Perhaps best known as Gabe in the later seasons of HBO’s Silicon Valley, the actor and director has a number of other shows and projects in the comedy scene. He also worked on The Coop. But the barefooted Gabe certainly stood out as a foil to Kumail Nanjiani.
Athari is actually a member of Nanjiani’s Goatface collective, which created a comedy special for the network in 2018. He also served as a writer and director for Comedy Central’s web series How To Be Broke.