New Saturday Night Live Cast Members

At the end of the 42nd season of Saturday Night Live this past spring, three cast members left the show. Bobby Moynihan and Vanessa Bayer were given a fond farewell while Sasheer Zamata opted to leave the show without much pomp and circumstance. Over the summer, we were left wondering if executive producer Lorne Michaels would replace the departed comedians or just let the cast shrink without bringing in any new talent. Now we have our answer.

NBC has announced that three new featured players will make their debut on Saturday Night Live when the season premiere airs this weekend on September 30 with host Ryan Gosling. It’s likely that you haven’t heard of these names before, but we’ll fill you in on each of the new Saturday Night Live cast members below.

Chris Redd

Chris Redd

If there’s one name out of the three new featured players you might be familiar, it’s Chris Redd. First of all, there were rumors swirling last season that he was going to be brought into the SNL cast, though they never came to fruition. But perhaps more importantly, Redd was a scene stealing presence in last year’s sadly overlooked but brilliant mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.

Alongside Andy Samberg, the comedian played Hunter the Hungry, an up and coming rapper hired to open for Samberg’s falling hip hop star Conner4Real. Sadly, one of the best scenes with Chris Redd’s character can’t be embedded, but you can check it out right here. Otherwise, here’s some of Chris Redd’s stand-up material from Chicago for you to sample:

Like many Saturday Night Live cast members, Redd laid his comedy roots in Chicago by doing comedy at Second City. There he was a member of the touring company and co-wrote The Art of Falling, an improv-sketch-dance hybrid show that was pulled off with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Taking the advice of Judd Apatow, Redd moved to Los Angeles and in addition to his role in Popstar, he’s also appeared in the Netflix shows Love and Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later.

Heidi Gardner

Heidi Gardner

As another Midwesterner transplanted to Los Angeles, Heidi Gardner hails from the famous comedy house The Groundlings. Currently, Gardner can be heard on the animation series Supermansion on Crackle. Here’s a sample of her work as a cat superhero named Cooch:

Gardner also writes on Supermansion, which should help her in the fast-paced world of SNL, where often times new cast members need to write sketches for themselves in order to ensure a decent amount of time on air. Either that, or they need to team up with another cast member or writer to churn out some quality stuff together. It might also help that Gardner has a role in the upcoming comedy Life of the Party, which stars Melissa McCarthy, a favorite host of SNL and an alum of The Groundlings as well.

Luke Null

Luke Null

Finally, we have one more comedian hailing from the middle of the country with Luke Null. Null is probably the least known out of the new trio, but like countless talents who have rolled through SNL, Null cut his teeth doing improv and writing and performing in sketches at the iO Theater in Chicago.

However, Null’s opportunity to shine may come from his musical talents:

Sure, there’s been music from the likes of The Lonely Island and music videos featuring plenty of well-produced music on SNL in recent years, but an acoustic, singing comedian in the vein of Adam Sandler hasn’t made waves on the show since Jimmy Fallon left the series years ago. Null might be able to fill that void on SNL this season.

SNL Sketchboard

New Writers

Finally, Deadline reports Saturday Night Live is also beefing up the writers room with seven new hires this season. There’s Sam Jay, who was recently named one of Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch; Gary Richardson, from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre comedy troupe The Law Firm: Law & Disorder; Erin Marino, a writer for The Hughleys; Andrew Dismukes, a comedian who has performed at SXSW and FunFunFunFest;, Steven Castillo, a performer from Riot LA; Claire Friedman, an alum of The Harvard Lampoon where some of the original SNL cast members got their start in comedy; and Nimesh Patel, who wrote for the 88th Academy Awards and also worked on Hasan Minhaj’s speech for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

That’s quite an eclectic array of writing talent to bring aboard SNL, and hopefully it helps the sketch series keep up the momentum they gained last season, which resulted in an Emmy win for Outstanding Variety Sketch Comedy Series.

This season of Saturday Night Live should be an interesting one, especially with future hosts Gal Gadot and Kumail Nanjiani already signed up to host the two episodes in early October following the season premiere at the end of the month.

Thanks to Vulture for providing additional information about the new SNL featured players.

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