We're starting to get news about the next season of Saturday Night Live, yet there's one area in which the sketch show has been silent. This week, NBC announced that Miley Cyrus, Amy Schumer, and Tracy Morgan will be the first three hosts of Season 41. That's exciting for sure, but has Saturday Night Live hired new cast members? As of right now, there has been no announcement about hirings or firings for the upcoming year. The only person we know for sure will return to SNL is Kenan Thompson.
Update: on Aug. 31, it was announced that comic Jon Rudnitsky had joined the cast as a featured player.
However, it's not too late. The Season 40 cast, with 15 featured and repertory players, is not the largest ever on Saturday Night Live, so they could add a few more people, in theory, if nobody is leaving. The series returns on Oct. 3 and cast announcements can come at any time. On a show like Saturday Night Live that changes per week, new talent can be folded into the ensemble as necessary. If you remember, Sasheer Zamata was hired in January, and Kate McKinnon was hired in the middle of a season as well. Pete Davidson was hired before last season started, but the announcement didn't come until the middle of September, while Leslie Jones slowly worked her way from the writer's room to Weekend Update bits and then into the featured cast.
Who could possibly be added to the ensemble? You'd have to be a major comedy insider to make a true prediction. From a diversity standpoint, the cast could definitely use more non-white and/or LGBT representation. Saturday Night Live takes a specific set of skills that not every talented comedian and writer can pull off, and I can understand why NBC and Lorne Michaels may be hesitant to keep tinkering with the cast. However, the live televised show is also ideally a training ground. The amount of variety put out by SNLis so fast that both writers and performers should be allowed to fail in order to do better.
Additionally, several of the current Saturday Night Live writers, including Natasha Rothwell, Nick Rutherford, and Alison Rich, are performers as well. It's possible that one of them will make the leap like Leslie Jones, and Weekend Update anchors like Colin Jost and Tina Fey. If that occurs, those announcements might come without a ton of fanfare, as they are already on the show's payroll.
I have a hunch that we'll get some information about the Season 41 cast in the next two months, whether it's new players to get excited about, or relief that your favorites are returning. The important thing is that SNL is almost back! That's reason enough to celebrate.
Images: Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC; Giphy