LOS ANGELES — Longtime “Saturday Night Live” cast member Taran Killam says he “was never given a reason why” he was being let go after six seasons on the NBC program.
Killam and fellow cast member Jay Pharoah won’t be back when “SNL” returns this fall for its 42nd season, the network said Monday.
Killam told Uproxx i n an interview published Monday that he was planning on making the upcoming season of “SNL” his final one before being told that his contract wasn’t being picked up.
“I was never given a reason why, really. I can assume until the cows come home,” he said.
Killam speculated that the production schedule of a film he’s directing and starring in, “Why We’re Killing Gunther,” may have played a part because two months of post-production work on the movie would have coincided with “SNL’s” production schedule. Whatever the reason for his departure, Killam said he has “no gripes” about his time as part of the comedy institution.
“I set out to be on ‘SNL’ and I got to do that and I did very well. And I love and adore and will forever have close ties and tight bonds with the brilliant, smartest, funniest people I’ve ever met in my life,” he told Uproxx.
Killam performed several celebrity impressions on the show, including Brad Pitt and Donald Trump — although the Trump role went to “SNL” announcer and former star Darrell Hammond during the past season.
Pharoah was also on the program for six seasons and had the coveted role of impersonating President Barack Obama. He was also known for his send-ups of Kanye West, Jay Z, Shaquille O’Neal and others.
“SNL” is famous for its revolving-door cast, with Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon and Eddie Murphy among its successful alumni.
The network also announced it agreed to make customized episodes of “The Tonight Show,” ”Saturday Night Live” and several other shows for Snapchat under a multiyear deal between the broadcast network and social media app.
NBC says episodes of “The Voice” and “E! News” from E! Entertainment Television, which is owned by NBCUniversal, will be the first of its programs to be shown on the Snapchat Discover platform. Those shows will be followed by original episodes of “Saturday Night Live” and Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show.”
In return, NBC plans to develop and sell advertising packages that include Snapchat as part of the deal.
This isn’t the first deal between New York-based NBC and Venice, California-based Snapchat. The companies currently are partnering on an NBC Rio Olympic channel for Snapchat Discover.