It's always sad to see a longtime performer step down from the show, but Bobby Moynihan's departure from SNL stings more than most. Moynihan has been a staple of the late-night sketch show since 2008 and departed at the end of the show's 42nd season. Why did Moynihan leave SNL after nearly a decade on the show? It seems that the performer was simply ready to move on to other projects, including a starring role in a new sitcom.
In August of 2017, Moynihan cleared the air about his SNL departure while speaking to the Television Critics Association. Deadline reported that Moynihan told the crowd, "I knew my [SNL] contract was ending," and that he knew he had to "make a decision soon." He saw the dilemma as the choice between "[hanging] out at the place I love most, or [trying to] become an adult and move on."
The SNL schedule, especially for performers who also write, can be a grueling process. Entire shows are written, rehearsed, costumed, and designed in just six days. However, the increase of workload that followed Trump's election may have contributed to a fatigue that pushed Moynihan away from the show. As Moynihan told the TCA, per the same Deadline piece, "You get so used to never sleeping and writing all night long, and I made it through eight years of this, thinking this can’t get any worse. And then, all of a sudden Trump happens... "
During an interview on CBS This Morning, Moynihan spoke on how his last season on the show was difficult for him, calling it very "politics-heavy," which was not his "cup of tea." "For me," said Moynihan, "SNL was very talented comedians playing characters and entertaining people. I missed that part of it."
While Moynihan may not have been pleased with the toll that Trump and America's political state took on the show, his departure was reportedly entirely amicable. In the same CBS This Morning interview, Moynihan recalled e-mailing SNL creator and producer Lorne Michaels, and saying that the man who hired him for the job was "very nice and awesome" about him Moynihan stepping away.
In addition to changes at SNL, some major life changes may have also affected Moynihan's interest in doing the show. As People reported, Moynihan and his wife brought their first child into the world in August of 2017. Moynihan joked with the publication that having a child and being on SNL are essentially "the same" when comparing how grueling, difficult, and ultimately rewarding the two experiences can be. Departing SNL to be able to dedicate more energy to being a father may be what Moynihan meant when he told the TCA that he was choosing to "become an adult and move on."
The primary reason for Moynihan's departure, however, could simply be that he has moved on to a new project. This season, instead of playing a multitude of characters on SNL, he'll be focusing his energy on playing just one character on the new CBS sitcom Me, Myself, and I. On his new show, Moynihan plays a mild-mannered man trying to get his life back on track after a divorce, which is a far cry from some of his more outrageous SNL characters. There really is no other show like Saturday Night Live on television, where comedic actors are able to spend nine years creating broad, unique characters that may not be able to anchor an entire show. Moynihan's time as a cast member of SNL has come to an end, but that doesn't mean he won't be bringing his sketch comedy skills back to the show at some point.
Even though he's not a cast member anymore, Moynihan is excited about the prospect of returning in the future. "I would love to go back [to SNL] someday," he told CBS This Morning. "I feel like you never leave SNL. If you get that job it becomes like family and everyone just kinda comes through those doors again at some point." Just because Moynihan is no longer an SNL regular, that doesn't mean that fans have seen the last of characters like Drunk Uncle, Anthony Crispino, and Riblet.