Even if you're only a casual fan, there's a good chance you heard about the new Saturday Night Live cast members who were hired for Season 45. And unfortunately, it probably wasn't because the show made history with inclusive hires. In fact, it was quite the opposite.On September 12, it was announced that three new faces would join the show as featured players when it premieres on September 28: Bowen Yang, Chloe Fineman, and Shane Gillis. Now, only Yang and Fineman are joining the show, after Gillis was fired due to racist and homophobic comments he made.
"We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days," a spokesperson for SNL said in a statement. "The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard." Gillis issued a statement on the matter in which he said, "I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said."
Luckily, there were two other great new hires, though they're no strangers to the show. Yang was hired as a writer for Saturday Night Live last season, and also appeared in a sketch as Kim Jong-un. As noted by Vulture, he co-wrote the sketches "GP Yass!" about a car GPS with a drag queen voiceover option, and "Cheques" about the dramatic art of check-writing that has now gone by the wayside.
In addition to SNL, Yang has appeared in TV shows and movies, including Broad City and Isn't It Romantic. He also hosts a podcast called Las Culturistas along with Matt Rogers, and is known on Twitter for posting videos of himself lip-syncing to iconic pop cultural moments, such as Miranda Priestly's cerulean sweater speech from The Devil Wears Prada and Tyra Banks' "we were all rooting for you" exchange with Tiffany Richardson on America's Next Top Model. As a Chinese-American, Yang brings some diversity to the show; previously, Fred Armisen, who is a quarter Korean, and Rob Schneider, who is a quarter Filipino, were the only Asian cast members in SNL's history.
As for Fineman, she studied improv at Groundlings in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She's also acted in TV shows, including Jane the Virgin, Mozart in the Jungle, and Search Party.
But, Fineman is particularly known for her impressions. Her Instagram is full of them, including impersonations of presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, Dance Moms-turned-YouTube star JoJo Siwa, and a sad Drew Barrymore taking a tour through Brooklyn. She also posted an impression of her mom, which is funny even without knowing her. Fineman has an impressive collection of wigs, too, and is very good at makeup, which makes her embody these people even more. I mean, just look at the eyebrows and pink hair on her Maisie Williams.
While we know Fineman and Yang are both joining SNL, there has only been one other change announced so far. Leslie Jones is leaving the series after five years, which she confirmed on Instagram. It has not yet been announced whether any of the current featured players will be promoted, but if they are, that news must be coming soon.