As the Wiig/Hader/Samberg era passed the torch to a less established new cast, Saturday Night Live went through it’s toughest transition since the early 90s. Luckily they seem to be coming out of the fog thanks to the talent of Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Taran Killam, and others. Now the movie roles are coming and characters are rising above mere recurring status, inching toward household names.
Soon, we’ll be discussing a new class and listening to the same questions about whether the show is out-dated and why people still watch and obsess over a broadcast sketch comedy show with an allegedly receding edge. The cycle never ends.
For this final “SNL: Where Are They Now?” I’m taking a look at the 22 people who could best be described as belonging to this current decade. We know where most of them literally are, but where are they on the show? What side-projects are they working on? And what’s happened to the ones who left? After reading, be sure to check out the 70s cast, the 80s cast, the 90s cast, and the 2000s cast.
Vanessa Bayer (2010-Current)
Bayer is — along with Kate McKinnon, Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, Sasheer Zamata, and Leslie Jones — part of an amazing group of female comics currently leading SNL. But with that much talent, it can sometimes be hard to stand out. There are often episodes where Bayer feels like she’s on the sidelines and others where she takes over thanks to a solid stable of original characters.
Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney (2013-Current)
SNL hired the remaining part of Good Neighbor — Bennett and Mooney’s pre-SNL comedy team — when Nick Rutherford came aboard as a writer on the show this year, but Bennett and Mooney’s videos haven’t risen past their niche holding cell in the way that Lonely Island’s did with Digital Shorts. I imagine that that is a crippling standard to live up to.
As singular cast members, Bennett is becoming a classic utility guy/#1 douchebag type. As for Mooney, he’s SNL‘s resident on-screen weirdo, but he clearly has levels. I honestly didn’t see it at first, but Bruce Chandling may actually be a genius bit of experimental comedy for the way that it seems to cut into this hack comedian’s deeper sadness.
Away from SNL, Mooney co-starred in the Hello Ladies send-off film reprising his role from the series and he has a part in Michael Showalter’s upcoming film Hello, My Name is Doris.
Bennett co-starred in the indie-comedy Intramural (with Kate McKinnon) last year and I’m sure he’ll hook on with something this year during summer break.
Paul Brittain (2010-2012)
Brittain split in the middle of his second season and was far from a force on the show, though “Sex” Ed Vincent was pretty great. After-SNL, Brittain had a recurring role on The Trophy Wife and he’s starring in a documentary style sasquatch indie comedy called Nigel and Oscar vs. The Sasquatch. He plays Nigel, not the sasquatch.
Aidy Bryant (2012-Current)
Bryant has been the breakout talent so far this season after a really terrific second year — an upswing prompted by the appeal of Tonker Bell, her work with Cecily Strong in “Girlfriends Talk Show,” Adele, the Your Girl music videos, and a bunch of one-off characters. As she’s risen in the show’s on-screen hierarchy, her swagger level has as well.
Movie roles will come, Lil Baby Aidy. They will come soon.
Pete Davidson (2014-Current)
Pete Davidson made a great first impression with an Update desk bit about the economic practicalities of going down on dudes for money and he’s had a few more noteworthy moments as a 21-year-old rookie. I don’t know if he’s clinched a job for next season yet, but there’s a lot of talent there and a knack to hit big when he connects, so yeah, probably not getting fired anytime soon.
Leslie Jones (2014-Current)
Leslie Jones has been a celebrated addition to the cast who has already built up quite a collection of memorable moments for a featured player halfway through their first year. With a role in the Ghostbusters reboot and the notices she’s received in her brief time on SNL, is Jones long for the show? Remember, Leslie Jones took the long way to get here (more than 20 years working in stand up).